Creme Brulee is my all-time favorite dessert. Yes, it is, and I'm not afraid to say so! Next to the husband, children, God and the good old USA, it's what brings a smile to my lips and makes my heart skip a beat.
Over the years, I've tried many different recipes, and this is by far my favorite. It's both simple and delicious.
First, take 5 large egg yolks. One broke. Sorry, Martha.
Beat the eggs into a frenzy with a whisk, and add 1/3 C sugar. Whisk until it's thick and lemony yellow. Add just a pinch of salt and set aside.
Pour 2 C heavy whipping cream into a medium saucepan. Heat the cream until it starts to get little bubbles along the edge. I did have a picture of the little bubbles, but evidently one-handed photography is a crap shoot.
Remove the cream from the heat, and SLOWLY pour the cream into the egg yolk mixture, while whisking.
Add to this, 2 teaspoons of very good vanilla extract. No Imitation vanilla, please.
Add 2 Tablespoons cold brewed coffee. I use leftover morning coffee.
Very Important - Strain this through a fine mesh strainer, catching all those little bits of cooked egg. No one wants that.
Pour the custard into 6 ungreased custard cups and place them into a water bath. You know the drill. The oven is pre-heated to 350, and they'll cook approximately 30-35 minutes. When you move the pan, the custard should still jiggle just a bit in the center. Remove the pan from the oven, and allow them to cool in the water bath until the cups can easily be handled.
Refrigerate them for a minimum of 4 hours. This is how they should look. There should be no browning.
Here comes the fun part! I like brown sugar on mine. It has a lovely caramel/toasted marshmallow flavor. You can use granulated sugar, if you prefer. Use about 1 teaspoon of sugar for each cup.
Spread the sugar over the surface of the custard, using the back of the spoon. I've placed the cup on a kitchen tile.....getting ready for the next step.
Use a kitchen torch, or you can use your broiler to caramelize the sugar, just until it's bubbly.
Let it cool (I know how hard this part is) for at least 5 minutes, or you can refrigerate for 5 minutes. Be careful, at this point. If you refrigerate for more than 5-10 minutes after caramelizing, you will loose the crunch factor. I usually just let it cool a bit on the counter. Careful of the rim, it might be hot. If you don't have a torch, no problem, just use your broiler.
This is very rich, very creamy, and the slight coffee flavor in the background is unexpected, but absolutely delicious. I hope you try it.