When I saw that this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection was Creme Brulee, my heart did a little happy dance. I adore everything about creme brulee, from that first tapping of your spoon through its crispy, crackly, caramelized sugar crust, to that first heavenly mouthful of soft, rich, creamy vanilla-kissed custard. The supreme indulgence!
Over the years, I have eaten more than my fair share of creme brulee. As a matter of fact, when I was in Paris last summer, I think I probably ate my weight in the stuff! The funny thing is, I've never made it at home. I've made lots of flans, custards and creme caramels, but never a brulee. Why, you ask? Because I've always been terrified of the blowtorch!
When I was a toddler, I was involved in a terrible accident resulting in third degree burns on over a third of my body. I spent several weeks in the hospital and miraculously, I pulled through. Though my face was unscathed, I had much scarring everywhere else. Thankfully, most of it faded over time and now, they are barely discernible. Since then, I have been deathly afraid of fire.
I almost decided to just do a rewind recipe instead this week. But, since I did have a little kitchen torch, still sitting in its box, that I had gotten as a gift several years ago, I decided that it was now or never. I read the instructions through and through, and practiced a few times to get comfortable. I still didn't like doing it, but it was okay. I felt kind of proud of myself for staring my fear in the face.
Since the traditional vanilla creme brulee is my favorite, I made half of mine that way. For the rest, I added some instant espresso powder and made coffee creme brulee.
Dorie's recipe is dead easy and the custard came together in no time flat. Baking it took forever, though! The recipe says to bake at 200 degrees F. for 50-60 minutes. However, some of mine took at least 90 minutes to set up. I think it had to do with the size and depth of my containers. The deeper cups were the ones that took a lot longer. So, if you ever try this recipe, be mindful of that.
The custard itself is a bit lighter and not quite as rich as some others I've had, but it was perfectly velvety and absolutely delicious. Some of my caramelized sugar did get a little too browned, but it was just the right thickness and crackled into beautiful little shards. I'm so glad that I rose to this challenge, and I'm looking forward to making creme brulee again soon!
Many thanks to Mari of Mevrouw Cupcakes for choosing this great recipe. If you'd like to see some other creative interpretations of creme brulee, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll. The recipe cam be found on Mari's site as well as in Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.