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Love Is The Sound of a Spoon on Creme Brulee

One of the best sounds in the world is the lovely crack that happens when your spoon breaks through the top of a creme brulee. The caramelized sugar crust gives way to a luscious creamy custard and the lovely sound means that an amazing dessert is awaiting you. Since today is National Creme Brulee Day, I think we should all head into the kitchen and make one of our very own. It takes some specialty equipment (like a culinary blowtorch), but it's definitely worth it. To check out the recipe,

To make this a classic crème brûlée, simply omit the fresh ginger.

Ginger and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée
From Bon Appétit, February 1999

For Custard
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 large egg yolks

For Crème Brûlée
12 tsp. sugar
Sliced tropical fruit (such as mango, papaya and/or kiwi)

Make Custard:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place three 4-inch-diameter fluted flan dishes in each of two 13-x-9 x-2-in. baking pans or place six 3/4-cup ramekins in 1 pan. Mix cream, sugar, and ginger in heavy medium saucepan. Using small sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean. Add seeds and bean to saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer. Cover pan, reduce heat to very low and simmer gently 10 minutes to infuse flavors. Strain into large measuring cup.
  2. Whisk yolks in medium bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk in hot cream mixture just to blend. Return custard to measuring cup; divide among dishes. Pour enough hot water into pans to come halfway up sides of dishes. Carefully transfer pans to oven.
  3. Bake custards until almost set in center when pans are gently shaken, about 30 minutes for fluted flan dishes and 35 minutes for ramekins. Using metal spatula, transfer custards in dishes to work surface; cool 30 minutes. Chill at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

Make Crème Brûlée:

  1. Sprinkle 2 tsp. sugar evenly over each custard. Working with 1 custard at a time, hold culinary blowtorch** so that flame is 2 inches above surface. Direct flame so that sugar melts and browns, about 2 minutes.
  2. Refrigerate until custards are firm again but topping is still brittle, at least 2 hours but no longer than 4 hours so that topping doesn't soften. Garnish crème brûlées with fruit.

** Note: If you don't have access to a culinary blowtorch, you can place the custard dishes on a small baking sheet and broil until sugar begins to caramelize (about 2 minutes) — rotate sheet for even browning.

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