Category Archives: Creme Brulee

Crème Brûlée Tart

Crème Brûlée Tart
Originally uploaded by jenianddean.

Crème Brûlée Tart
Gourmet | October 2008
by Melissa Roberts

More than 30 years ago, Michael McCarty opened Michael’s, in Santa Monica, and quickly established himself as a pioneer of California cuisine. In one of his sunny interpretations of French classics, he served crème brûlée in a crust. The smooth custard in a flaky shell with a crackling burnt-sugar top was one of his most popular desserts.

Yield: Makes 8 servings
Active Time: 35 min
Total Time: 4 1/4 hr

For tart shell:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

For custard filling:
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1 whole large egg
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt

a 9 1/2-inch round fluted tart pan (1 inch deep) with a removable bottom
pie weights or dried beans
a small blowtorch

Make tart shell:
Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl (or pulse in a food processor). Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse) until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size lumps of butter. Add 3 tablespoons water and stir into flour (or pulse) until incorporated. Gently squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn’t hold together, add water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) after each addition. Do not overwork dough or pastry will be tough. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit dough into tart pan and fold overhang inward to reinforce side. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Lightly prick bottom of shell all over with a fork, then line with parchment or foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until edge is pale golden and side is set, 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove weights and parchment and bake shell until golden, 10 to 15 minutes more.

Remove tart shell from oven and reduce temperature to 300°F.

Make filling:
While shell bakes, split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds into a heavy medium saucepan with tip of a paring knife. Add pod to saucepan with cream and milk. Heat over medium heat until hot, then let steep off heat 30 minutes. Whisk together yolks, whole egg, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a quart measuring cup, then whisk into cream mixture until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve back into measuring cup.

Put tart shell (in pan) in a 4-sided sheet pan. Put in oven, then pour custard into shell. Bake until just set but still slightly wobbly in center, 30 to 35 minutes (custard will continue to set as it cools). Remove tart from sheet pan and cool on a rack 30 minutes. Remove side of pan and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour more.

Just before serving, sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar evenly over top of tart. Move blowtorch flame evenly back and forth just above top of tart, avoiding crust, until sugar is caramelized and slightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Make ahead:
Dough can be chilled 1 week.
Tart, without caramelized top, can be made 1 day ahead, then chilled (loosely covered once cool). Gently blot any moisture from surface before caramelizing.


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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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