If you have followed me for a while you probably know that my husband will spend the next eight months in Arizona for a job. The girls and I are staying behind in North Carolina. My husband and I decided we just can’t uproot the girls again, especially for a temporary job. Our hope is that once the season is over he will find a job back in our area.
So over the past two weeks we have been doing a lot of special things with my husband, like taking him to his favorite Indian restaurant, out to the movies, treating him to surprise lunch with our girls at a great little Mexican place we discovered, and making him many of his favorite foods.
Well, crème brûlée happens to be one of my husband’s favorite desserts!
For those of you who do not know, crème brûlée is a scrumptious custard dessert topped with a thin layer of crispy caramel. The caramel layer is created by burning sugar on top of the custard with a culinary torch or broiler. Once the sugar has melted and turned to caramel, the cold custard underneath hardens the sugar into a crust.
I’d never attempted to make a crème brûlée before because I thought it would be too difficult. But I was so wrong! As long as the prep-work is done properly, it’s not much more difficult to make a than a boxed cake mix. And it’s much better!
I decided to to surprise my husband by learning how to make crème brûlée. I researched several recipes and instructions before my first attempt. I chose a traditional recipe made with vanilla and Grand Marnier. And it was pretty good, but it didn’t WOW anyone. So I kept looking. I didn’t really find any recipes that stood out for me. They were all very similar, give or take an ingredient. Finally, I decided to “wing it” and make something that I thought would be spectacular. And it was!
The couple of things you really need to know before you try to make a crème brûlée: first, read through the recipe several times before starting. Next, make sure you mise-en-place (a French phrase that means literally, “put in place”) your equipment and ingredients before you start anything. This will save you time and make everything go much more smoothly.
My Ankarsrum Original Stand Mixer, with it’s powerful and quiet 600-watt motor, made easy work of this dessert! No need to be nervous about pouring hot ingredients into the plastic mixing bowl. The Double Whisk Bowl is made from Tritan Plastic, which is PBA- and BPS-free, and it’s also free of estrogenic and androgenic activity (EA- and AA-free). Which means it is perfectly safe to pour the hot liquids directly into the bowl. If you want to check out the Ankarsrum Original Stand Mixer for yourself, take a look here.
To complete this recipe you will need the following equipment: six 4 oz ceramic ramekins, a small sauce pan, kettle or large pot to boil water, whisk (I prefer a flat whisk), rubber scraper, 3/4 cup measuring cup, and a half-size baking sheet (I used a 15×21″ sheet) or roasting pan that fits all six ramekins (place them inside the pan to be sure they fit. It’s important you have all the ramekins in one pan. The sides of the ramekins can touch, but they all need to be level to cook evenly). Optional equipment: a in-oven thermometer, and culinary torch with high-quality butane fuel.