What’s Cookin’ – Creme Brulee (Gluten Free)

I love Creme Brulee.  It is one of my favorite desserts.  It sounds fancy, but it is not hard to make.  And you don’t need a blow torch to make it either.  Trust me.

Creme Brulee is simply an egg custard.  Our grandmothers made them often.  They were often fed to children who were picky eaters to make sure they got enough eggs and protein in their diets.

There are many recipes out there for Creme Brulee.  I adapted a recipe from Tyler Florence.

I made Creme Brulee for my brother-in-law’s mother last summer.  She loved it.  I am glad I was able to make it for her since she is in heaven now.

The ingredients.

Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste.

Tyler’s recipe calls for using a vanilla bean.  Vanilla beans are very expensive.  I found this product which contains the lovely black specks of vanilla beans and measures the same as regular vanilla to be my go-to product whenever a recipe calls for using a whole vanilla bean.  If you make scones, pound cake, Creme Brulee, or homemade ice cream, you will love this product.  It will cost you about $11 per bottle at Williams-Sonoma, which is a little pricey, but it’s a lot cheaper than vanilla beans.  You will find that you use it more than you think, and I love seeing those lovely little specks of vanilla in my baked goods.

Put the quart of cream into a medium saucepan over low heat.  Add the vanilla bean paste.  Bring to a simmer, but do not boil.  Once it comes to a simmer, remove from the heat.

While the cream is coming up to a simmer, put the eggs and sugar into a large bowl.

A note on the sugar – Tyler’s recipe calls for superfine or baker’s sugar.  I happen to have some on hand, but I have also used regular sugar and it works fine, too.  No need to make a special trip for sugar.

Beat with a whisk until the eggs and sugar are thick and pale yellow.

Add the cream mixture to the yolk mixture by tempering the eggs.  Tempering the eggs prevents the eggs from cooking when adding the hot cream.

What I do is take a separate little bowl, add some egg mixture and add some cream mixture.  Beat together and add to the large bowl of egg mixture.  Do this a few times to make sure the eggs do not “cook” when adding the cream.

Add the rest of the cream mixture to the egg mixture after tempering the eggs.

Custard ready to pour into the ramekins.

You will need to bake the custard in a water bath.

Here is what I do.  Place the ramekins into sheet cake pans.  Fill them with the custard.  Place the pans into the preheated oven.  Take a pitcher of water and pour it into the pans until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  It is just a lot easier to pour the water this way then to carry the water filled sheet cake pans to the oven from the counter.

Bake for about 40 minutes until set around the edges.  They may still be a little jiggly (that is a technical term) in the middle.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling racks to room temperature.  Then place the custards into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Preheat broiler to high and raise the oven rack so that the ramekins will be about 3 to 4 inches from the broiler element.  Sprinkle 1 TBS of brown sugar onto each custard.  Using a sifter will provide a nice even layer. 

It will not take long for the sugar to become brown and bubbly.  Watch carefully!  It may take anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes to get a nice, lovely brown crust.

Ready to eat.  The top will be crunchy and the silky custard will still be cool.


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