Previously, I was not a big creme brûlée fan. No good reason, just meh or I will have the seasonal sorbets please. I also had no idea how simple it is to make. Fancy French dessert? Must be complicated, require stilettos, twelve hours, culinary degree and secret ingredients grown in the shade of the Eiffel Tower. Well, it is not. It is the perfect combination of quality ingredients, topped off with flames! I looked at quite a few recipes as there are many variations and approaches – my version is a mishmash of Joy of Cooking, Ina Gartner, Alton Brown, Martha and Julia. You could certainly make a batch and bake in a single larger dishes (for a little longer) but I love jars and desserts in jars. The 4 ounce Ball canning jars make the perfect personal sized dessert. My recipe makes about eight or nine of the 4 ounce jars, little ramekins work too but will hold a little more volume. I easily tripled this recipe to make two dozen for our recent Lunar New Year Celebration. Dessert and a Show!
- 3 egg yolks; save the whites and make a quick batch of my coconut macaroons or freeze for future use.
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup organic sugar
- 1 pint of heavy whipping cream
- 1 1/2 (generous) teaspoon vanilla bean paste (I like the kind in the jar, but you could scrape out a bean too)
- 2 (generous) teaspoons Cointreau (optional)
- Another 1/2 cup or so sugar for topping and burning after baking
- Raspberry, mint leaves and other garnishes: I also used coconut chips, sky is the limit
- Heat the oven to 325 F. In a backing pan, e.g. 13×9, place the jars and then fill pan with water until it reaches about 60% of the way up the jar.
- Whisk/beak with a fork the egg yolks, whole egg and sugar, vanilla paste and Cointreau in a large mixing bowl using a fork or whisk. I love my large glass measuring bowl with pour spout.
- Scald the cream in a sauce pan. Stirring most of the time. I scald by heating and stirring until tiny bubbles just start forming on the edge.
- Pour very slowly the scaled cream into the eggs/sugar stirring constantly until all combined. You don’t want to dump and scramble the eggs.
- Stir until well combined and then pour into prepped glass jars. Some people strain to remove any lumps, i did not and it turned out just fine and had Great Texture.
- Put the jars in the pan with water into the oven and back until creme ‘trembles’ but is set in the middle. This was about 35 minutes when using the 4 ounce jars.
- When done cooking, remove jars for water bath/pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to finish setting.
- About 30 minutes before ready to serve, let the jars sit at room temperature. Then cover with a layer of sugar and use a torch quickly melt/burn the sugar. You can do this under a broiler preheated to high. This is a little trickier. Yes, that is me RS babywearing and putting finishing touches on desert. For safety reasons (and because my guy loves the torch) – I let him put the “brûlée” in Creme Brûlée.
- Add your toppings and serve!