With a rise in people with gluten intolerance desserts are a particular problem so one of my go to favorites and guests too is this classic baked custard.
While a decidedly French name, the technique has been said to have been first created in England and some food historians say in Spain. It showed up in French recipes in 1691. It did have its origins sometime between the 5th and 15th centuries coming to prominence in the middle ages and spread throughout Europe. It is know n to have been served early in America, having been on the White House menu during Jefferson’s presidency. It had a re-birth in the 1980s when the renowned New York restaurant, Le Cirque added it to the menu. The desserts popularity has continued to only increase over the past decades.
While decidedly decadent, it’s worth treating yourself now and then.
To good times with great food & drinks,
1 tbs unsalted butter, softened
6 large egg yolks, chilled
6 tbs white sugar
1 ½ cups whipping cream, chilled
4 tbs dark brown sugar
Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 275 degrees.
Butter six ½-cup ramekins or six 2/3-cup custard cups and set them in a glass baking pan.
Whisk yolks in medium bowl until slightly thickened. Add white sugar and whisk until dissolved.
Whisk in cream, pour mixture into prepared ramekins.
Set baking pan on oven rack and pour warm water into pan to come halfway up the ramekins. Bake uncovered until custards are just barely set, about 45 minutes.
Remove baking pan from oven, leaving ramekins in the hot water; cool to room temperature.
Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. (Can be covered and refrigerated overnight.)
While custards are cooling, spread brown sugar in a small baking pan; set in turned-off (but still warm) oven until sugar dries, about 20 minutes. Transfer sugar to a small zipper-lock freezer bag; seal bag and crush sugar fine with a rolling pin. Store sugar in an airtight container until ready to top custards.
You can either use a cooking torch to caramelize the top or use the broiler in the oven. Spread the top of each evenly with sugar. With torch, rotate the ramekin to evenly coat the top until brittle about 2 -3 minutes. If you use the broiler, adjust oven rack to the next-to-the-highest position and heat broiler. Put the ramekins in a baking pan and broil watching constantly and rotating pan for even caramelization.
Refrigerate crème brulees to rechill custard, about 30 minutes. Do not let sit longer than 1 hour before serving.