Monday, November 14, 2011
I had a wonderful birthday on Sunday. Our daughter came home for the weekend. We ate lots of great food and had a good time all around.
My birthday dinner was a crock pot chicken cacciatore (an Emeril Lagasse recipe) over brown rice, mixed greens salad with tomato and cucumber, a glass of Asti Spumante, and a fabulous dessert of creme brulee! Heaven!
The recipe for the creme brulee is so easy. It's from Paul Deen. The first time I made this was in a very large batch for a traveling French dinner when the kids were in high school French Club. One year we hosted appetizers, but the last year, I pleaded to be the dessert house. Other people provided desserts, too, and there just happened to be enough for a host parent or two to try them! Yum!
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a heavy-bottomed, medium saucepan, heat cream and vanilla over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring to ensure it does not scorch. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes, then do the remaining steps.
In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup plus one tablespoon sugar. Add about half the cream mixture, a little at a time, to the egg mixture, mixing until well blended. Then pour the egg mixture into the remaining cream mixture. Stir until completely blended.
Pour the custard into 4 (9-ounce) ramekins or custard cups. Place the dishes into a large baking pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned and set in the center (it should still wiggle when shaken). Carefully remove the dishes from the baking pan. Let cool to about room temperature; then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Let creme brulee stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving (I skip this warm-up period and go straight to the next step after removing from the fridge.)
Sprinkle one tablespoon brown sugar on each custard in a thin, even layer, covering it completely. To caramelize the sugar, light a propane torch and hold it so the flame just touches the surface. Start at the center and spiral out toward the edges of the ramekins. Serve immediately.