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keep em' separated – part two

June 23, 2008

So, what do you do when you have leftover egg yolks? Make Creme Brulee, of course! Actually, I would never have thought of trying to make Creme Brulee at home if my brother hadn’t given me one of those handy kitchen blowtorches for my birthday. As it turns out, it is deceptively simple…

Classic Creme Brulee

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375.

In medium saucepan, bring cream to a boil over medium high heat. Remove from heat, cover and let cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow in color. Gradually whisk in the cream, then stir in the vanilla. Strain this mixture, then pour into 6 ramekins and place them in a roasting pan. Carefully fill the pan with hot water until it comes halfway up the side of the ramekins. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. (Custards will still seem wiggly in the center.)

Remove from pan and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, sprinkle sugar evenly over the top of the custard. Melt the sugar with a torch until it is brown and crisp. Let the sugar cool about 5 minutes before serving.

A few tips:

  • The cooked custard can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days prior to serving. Just remember to always caramelize the sugar right before serving, otherwise it will soften.
  • For an extra bit of decadence, try using a vanilla bean instead of extract for this recipe. You would split the vanilla bean and scrape out the pulp, and put the bean and its pulp into the cream before heating. Then remove the bean before adding the cream to the eggs. 
  • If you can’t use the egg yolks right away, but you know you want to use them for something sweet, whisk them together with a tablespoon of sugar and store them in the freezer. The sugar stabilizes the yolks so they will hold up to freezing. Thaw, whisk again, and you can use them in any dessert just as you would if they were fresh.
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