Caramel / Desserts

pimp my creme

Came across a recipe for creme brulee that I had copied down from Gary Rhodes’ Sweet Dreams and decided to try it out, even though I vaguely remember doing so years ago and not really liking the result. But why not, i thought. Maybe twice the charm. And Gary Rhode’s desserts always look divine. Scrumptious works of art.
Also inspired by MTV and X-ibit, I attempted to pimp this creme a little. I cut the recipe by half, but still used an entire vanilla pod, to give the custard a really intense vanilla flavor. The lack of a blowtorch also dissed my hopes of making a good creme brulee with a crunchy sugar crust, so I decided to go the creme caramel way. I read somewhere that the custard for both are essentially the same, just that creme brulee meant ‘burnt cream’ in french, so you have to burn the sugar on the cream, while creme caramel means ‘cream with caramel’, so you must have a caramel sauce accompanying the dessert.

By the way, fancy french names don’t sound so fancy when you hear the translation, do they? Next time you go to a restaurant, ask for burnt cream. See what they give you k? *grin*

Anyways, back to the pimping of ma cream:

Wanna feel good about yourself? Make some caramel. The scent of burnt sugar is lovely… like having your own cotton candy store in your house. I remember being introduced to the smell of it for the first time when I was in primary 5, and we were dissolving sugar for a science experiment (determining saturation points and all that). And I swear, my eyes glazed over when I took the first whiffs of the yummy steam that was coming out of the pot. mmmm.

Quickly divided the caramel amongst the ramkins and swirled to coat evenly. Gotta work fast ‘cos it hardens really quickly.

Heating the cream, vanilla pod, egg yolks and sugar atop my homemade double-boiler.

Carefully strained the mixture and poured into ramkins. hmmm…looks suspiciously yellow. But the black flecks of vanilla seeds looked nice and the custard passed the sniff test. Now, onto the tricky part of placing the ramkins in a hot water bath and not spilling any water on myself while transferring the tray into the oven. Made it, but barely.

So, this is it. Baked, cooled and chilled, it’s now time for the truth. Unmould the baby already!

Hmmm… A bit too flat. Maybe should have used smaller ramkins so that the custard would be thicker. And I didn’t really care for the custard either. It did have a nice taste but was too creamy for me. Almost like baby food. It disintegrated almost the second I put a spoonful into my mouth. I think I prefer my custard to have a little more firmness. Dunno…maybe if you like the consistency of nestum or cerelac, this is for you. Or if you want to fatten up your little tots. haha.
Here’s the original recipe, just in case you do:

Creme Brulee by Gary Rhodes (serves 6)

8 egg yolks

50g caster sugar

600ml double/pure cream

1 vanilla pod, split

icing sugar

  • Preheat oven to 180 degree Celcius.

  • Mix yolks and sugar in a bowl.

  • Bring cream with vanilla pod to a boil in a saucepan. Remove pod and scrape seeds into the cream.

  • Slowly whisk cream into eggs and sugar. Sit the bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water and heat until teh custard begins to thicken, stirring all the time. The custard should gain the consistency of single cream. Be careful not to keep on the heat too long or else you’re gonna end up with scrambled eggs!

  • At this point, I strained the mixture into a jug so that the custard would be lump-free. It was not required in the recipe but generally I think it’s a good idea to do so. Also makes it easier to pour the cream into the ramkins from a jug.

  • Divide the custard between the ramkins. Place in a roasting tin and pour warm water til it comes 3/4s of the way up the sides of the ramkins. Bake 20-30mins, just till the point of setting. There should still be a slight jiggle in the center when the mould is shaken gently. Cool.

  • Chill till just before serving.

  • Dust generously with icing sugar, wiping around the edges. Use a blowtorch to bubble the sugar. Redust and rebubble three times as the sugar begins to colour.


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