Saturday, December 7, 2013

Recipe: Vanilla Crème Brûlée (Delia Smith) + A New Kitchen Toy

Crème brûlée, also known as Burnt Cream or Trinity Cream is believed to have been invented at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1879. It consists of a rich custard base made from double cream and egg yolks with a layer of hard caramel, achieved by sprinkling sugar on top of the custard and placing it under the grill or using a blow torch.

The perfect crème brûlée

We recently purchased a blow torch, something which I have wanted for my kitchen for sometime. For those interested, you can get them in hardware shops or kitchen supply shops. The first thing we thought of making was crème brûlée, a dessert which I am very fond of eating but there are not many great ones in KL. 

Hubby volunteered to make this dessert, using Delia Smith's recipe upon my recommendation. The cream, egg yolks, cornflour and sugar is heated to make a smooth custard. The custard base is traditionally flavoured with vanilla, and I believe this is the best flavor to truly enjoy the crème brûlée. The custard is then left to cool overnight in the fridge. Just before serving, sprinkle on the sugar and then get your blow torch out for some action - by all means, do this tableside in front of your guests. Put on a show and wow them. 

A good crème brûlée should have a rich and smooth custard base with subtle vanilla flavour, and a crisp caramel shell that will crack with the tap of the spoon. Hubby's crème brûlée ticked all the right boxes so I was extremely impressed. Definitely one the best ones I've eaten in KL. So satisfyingly good. 

Now, how's that for an impressive, easy and delicious dessert to serve for Christmas? ;)

Blow torch in action - check it out!

Vanilla Creme Brulee
Recipe adapted from Delia Smith
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Makes 4

570 ml double or whipping cream
6 large egg yolks
4 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the brulee (per serving):
1/2 tbsp caster sugar

1. You will need to start the recipe at least one day before so the custards have time to chill in the fridge.

2. First, place the cream in a pan over a gentle (low) heat and heat it to just below simmering point, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. 

3. While the cream is heating, use a balloon whisk to whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla in a medium bowl. 

4. Then, whisking the egg mixture all the time with one hand, gradually pour the hot cream into the bowl.
When it's all in, immediately return the whole lot back to the saucepan using a rubber spatula. Now, back it goes on to the same gentle (low) heat as you continue whisking until the custard is thick and smooth, which will happen as soon as it reaches simmering point. If you do overheat it and it looks grainy, don't worry, just transfer it to a jug or bowl and continue to whisk until it becomes smooth again.

5. Now divide the custard among the four ramekins and leave to cool. Then cover each dish with cling film and refrigerate overnight.

6. Remove from fridge when ready to serve. To caramelize the tops, sprinkle each of the tops evenly with 1/2 tablespoon of caster sugar and then using a blowtorch, torch it until the sugar has melted and gone slightly dark brown in some places. This will only take several seconds.

7. Alternatively, if you do not have a blow torch, you can use the grill function in your oven. First pre-heat the grill to its highest setting (240°C) then uncover the ramekins and sprinkle each of the tops evenly with 1/2 tablespoon of caster sugar. Place them on a baking tray and put them under the hot grill for 4-5 minutes until the sugar has melted and started to go very dark brown in some places.

8. Serve when caramel has harden. These creme brulee can also be frozen - remove them from the freezer fifteen minutes before you serve them.

Note: We used ramekins 9cm in diameter. Delia's original recipe uses 7.5cm ramekins, and makes 6.

I am submitting this to the "Baby Sumo's Christmas Recipes Collection 2013" event which I am hosting. You can link your recipes here.

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  1. Nyam nyam!! Though I am not a big fan of creme brulee, but I am sure the one you make will make me change my mind..;P

  2. this is gonna be a fun toy to play with over the years! and congratulations to hubby on producing such a beautiful creme brulee :D

  3. Hi Yen, This is great for Christmas! Let me go and get the blow torch and ramekins and I'll do this.

  4. wow, a great kitchen I shall be waiting for some more nice dessert made with your new helper here!

  5. I had no idea that it was invented at Trinity College-you learn something new every day! This looks dleicious Yen! And that reminds me, I just broke my blowtorch (just yesterday arrgh) -I'd better buy another!

  6. The blow torch looks like a great buy! I love creme brulee too!

  7. Yen, I want a blowtorch too hah! hah! Love creme brulee and hopefully one day I have time to make it.

  8. Hi Yen,
    "Cool" kitchen toy! I have always wanted one too!
    Delicious creme brulee!

  9. Such a classic, I love burnt cream (or crème brulee)!

  10. Hi Yen,

    Having fun with your new toy!!! Yay!!! I love playing with my blow torch too :p


  11. I bought the blow torch also meant to make this, but too bad, my family seem don't appreciate this dessert...

  12. wow...good try on the Crème Brûlée !
    Now you can enjoy a homemade Crème Brûlée :-)

  13. Where did you bought your blow torch ... please tell me

    1. Hi Carmen, I bought my blow torch at Ace Hardware.

  14. Wow. Just.... Wow. I will be making this the next there is need for a perfect dessert.


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