For me, making Crème Brûlée is a bit of a challenge. On my first attempt, after simmering cream, beating egg yolks, peeling lemon zest, and placing my little ramekins in the oven, I was disappointed to pull them out and see they looked overcooked. I was even more disappointed when I served them to my family and they hadn’t even set. While everyone insisted that the flavour was good, I knew it didn’t have the right consistency.
I got up early the next day to try again. The second time time I cooked them at a lower temperature, took greater care while tempering the hot cream into the egg yolks, and ensured that the custard was set. My second attempt (pictured) was much better. That being said, it’s still going to take some practice before I can say I have perfected this dish.
Crème Brûlée is essentially a rich, flavour infused custard with a hard caramelized sugar coating. It is popular with our friends and families, and pairs beautifully alongside a scoop of homemade Vanilla ice cream. I will continue to practice until I have mastered a smooth creamy custard with a hard glass finish.
The recipe I have been working on so far is below.
Tentative Recipe for Lemon Crème Brûlée:
6 Egg Yolks
2 Cups of Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup of White Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
4 Cups of Boiling Water (For surrounding your ramekins)
2-3 Additional Tablespoons of Sugar for Topping
Instructions for Lemon Crème Brûlée:
1: Preheat Oven to 325 Degrees. On the stovetop, boil 4 cups of water. Place 6 empty ramekins in a large baking dish or roasting pan.
2: Zest two lemons and place zest in a bowl. Juice the lemons, placing juice in a second bowl.
3: Mix your heavy cream, sugar, and lemon zest in a pan on the stove top. Heat until your cream begins to simmer.
4: Beat egg yolks. Once the cream is simmering, ladle it into the yolks, stirring as you do. Add two tablespoons of lemon juice to the mixture, as well as a teaspoon of Vanilla extract.
5: Once your mixture is stirred, carefully divide it into the ramekins. Pour your boiling water into the roaster, surrounding the ramekins, and place it into the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
6: After 30 minutes, remove your ramekins from the oven, and leave them to sit on the stove top in the hot water for an additional 15 minutes. Refrigerate for 3 hours, until completely chilled.
7: After your custard has chilled, spoon additional sugar on top of each ramekin. With a torch (or under your broiler) – heat the sugar until it bubbles and caramelizes.
8: Serve garnished with candied lemon, mint, basil, or homemade ice cream.
The Learning Experience:
The Maple Cutting Board is about sharing recipes and experiences while learning to cook. Not every dish can be created the first time without learning from some mistakes. While I continue to practice this, I’m curious: What are your tips and tricks for achieving a perfect Crème Brûlée?