Butterscotch Creme Brulee with Caramel Corn

butterscotch creme brulee with caramel popcorn

I found this recipe a year ago in Food & Wine, but I was under the impression that creme brulee was difficult to make so I put it on the back burner until I was confident I could make it.  Since then I have made several creme brulees with much success.

Our friend John, who is currently stationed in Korea, was home for a visit in February so I thought this was a prefect occasion to make this recipe.  I had made a chocolate creme brulee for John and Susan’s 20th wedding anniversary dinner about 8 months before so I knew John really liked creme brulee. (chocolate creme brulee recipe will be posted at later date)

The key to making a silky creme brulee is straining the custard through a fine sieve.  This will eliminate any egg that may have  “cooked” when the hot mixture and egg mixture are whisked together.

Also the recipe calls for granulated sugar for the caramelized top, I use turbine sugar or raw sugar.  Personally I think it does better with the propane torch.

I use a 6-cup measuring cup with a pouring lip to fill the ramekins.  I have better control of where I’m pouring and I have less spillage.

Butterscotch Creme Brulee with Caramel Corn

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
9 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar.
Caramel Corn (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 300 F.  In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk, brown sugar, and salt.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar melts and small bubbles appear around the rim.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted.  Add the vanilla.  In a medium, bowl whisk the egg yolks.  Gradually whisk in the hot cream mixture, then strain the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl.

Set eight 1/2-cup ramekins in a roasting pan.  Pour the custard into the ramekins and add enough hot water to the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Cover with foil and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the creme brulee are set but still slightly jiggly in the center.  Uncover and let cool and firm, at least 5 hours.

Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over each creme brulee. Carmalize the sugar with a propane or brulee torch.  Top the creme brulee with the caramel corn and serve.

If you don’t have a propane or brulee torch —
Set the ramekins in the freezer for 20 minutes, until icy cold. Preheat the broiler and position a rack 6″ from the heat. Place 4 of the ramekins in a baking pan and fill it with ice.  Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar  evenly over each creme brulee and broil for about 1 minute, until the tops are caramelized.  Remove the creme brulees from the ice water and refrigerate just until chilled, about 15 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining creme brulees.

Caramel Corn

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups freshly popped corn
1/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts

Line a large baking sheet with lightly buttered parchment paper or foil.  In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water and bring to a boil.  Wash down the side of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush.  Cook the syrup over moderate heat without stirring, until a medium amber caramel color forms, about 7 minutes.  Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the butter and salt until melted.  Add the popcorn and peanuts and carefully stir to coat all the pieces.  Pour the caramel corn onto the buttered sheet and spread in an even layer.  Drizzle any remaining caramel on top.  Let cool for 30 minutes, then break the caramel corn into pieces.

Food & Wine – November 2005

Originally uploaded by jenianddean.


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Filed under Creme Brulee, Desserts, Food & Wine, Tips

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