An elegant, always delightful, classic dessert. Perfect for holiday dinners or dessert tables. Easier than you think, and perfect to make ahead. The last-minute scorching of the sugar is festive and interactive, so no need to stress about that final touch.
I do have the perfect recipe, given to me by the talented Brett Leitch, who taught it to me at George Brown. This recipe is in metric because it’s precise, but I’ve done my best to translate it to Imperial (American, not British) below.
The thing most people don’t realise about crème brûlée is that it’s not about the recipe or even the freshness and purity of the ingredients: it’s about the technique. Happily, that’s a simple one.
Get a sous vide machine. Already have one? You’re about to love it even more. Don’t have one? Don’t wait for Christmas. Get thee hence to a store (or a keyboard) and get yourself one!
Making these delightful little custards with the sous vide device will add a lightness and silkiness that is to die for. You can bake these in a water bath in the oven and they will be perfectly nice. But for an incredible mouthfeel, you know what to do.
The other secret to to buy a fine mesh strainer. No tiny globules of cooked egg for us, please! Melting, smooth, flawless texture.
Perfect on their own, or with a Christmas cookie, or a mini-poached pear, or a fruit compote, or just a glass of dessert wine.
- Sous vide device.
- 8-10 mason jars, 125 mL
- Blow torch
- 160 grams egg yolks (approximately 11)
- 90 grams sugar
- 3 grams salt
- 600 mL 35% whipping cream
- Sugar, as needed
- 1 piece vanilla piece
- Heat water bath to 80°C (176°F).
- Whisk together egg yolks, sugar and salt.
- Heat cream slowly in a small pot. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla pod into the cream, whisking gently. Heat to 70°C (158°F).
- Slowly pour cream into egg mixture, bit by bit, whisking all the time, until it's fully incorporated.
- Strain mixture into a large measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer.
- Pour slowly into mason jars, stopping approximately 1 centimetre from the top.
- Seal jars fingertip tight. (This means just until one big turn seals it gently. Do not twist it so tight that no bubbles can escape.)
- Using tongs, carefully place in water. Cook for one hour.
- Place in an ice bath until fully chilled. At this point, they will keep for several days before finishing.
- Remove the lid and sprinkle the top with sugar until a thin layer. Aim the flame from your blow torch at the centre and move it around the the edges. Swirl the runny sugar if need be to catch all the sugar patches. Continue until sugar is deeply caramelized. Let topping set for a minute before garnishing with fruit. Serve right away.