Learn to make a good Crème Brulee

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Whilst I am no chef I have always wanted to know how to make a Crème Brulee.  A Crème Brulee is set custard in a ramekin with melted sugar on top, basically.  I thought it had some mystical ingredients in it, something that took years to master but in fact it’s just custard!  However, it’s only custard if you do it right otherwise it’s only lumpy yellow stuff!

I used to like going to a really nice pub in Chapel Brampton in Northamptonshire for lunch, not that we had time for lunch sometimes but we would always order a Crème Brulee. I love the way you have to crack the sugar on top to get to the set custard underneath, it’s to die for!

So I decided that I needed to learn how to make this great desert.  When the 50 list was published I had many offers of help and one of those people that contacted me was Etam.  Etam runs a cake making business, Bespoke Cakes By Etam.  She invited me to her home on her week off and I jumped at the chance.  On Monday 26th March I went a long and met up with a photographer friend of mine, Ian Blackett, who would be recording this particular 50 list item.

Etam had got all the tools and ingredients set out on the table including a very handy portable electric cooking hob

Etam was very patient with me explaining the ingredients and talking me through the process.  In fact I was amazed at what little ingredients there were.  So, for all those people out there that always wanted to have a go making a Crème Brulee here’s Etam’s recipe and the notes I made during my lesson.

Ingredients

  • 300 ml Cream
  • 130 ml Milk
  • 4 Eggs yolks
  • 2oz Sugar
  • 1 Vanilla Pod

Instructions

  1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar
  2. Heat milk and cream add vanilla pod (extract seeds)
  3. Bring to a point just before boiling
  4. Pour onto egg yolks through sieve while whisking
  5. Place 4/5 ramekins onto a 3″ tray lined with a towel (This will stop the ramekins sliding about when you put the tray in the over.)
  6. Pour mixture into ramekins.
  7. Pour boiling water into the tray until the water level comes up to two thirds of the ramekins.
  8. Put into oven, middle shelf, at around 140 degree. At 30 minutes give tray a little shake to see if the custard mix has set.  If it wobbles it’s set!
  9. Take out of oven and let it sit to cool before putting them in the fridge.
  10. When you’re ready to serve sprinkle a layer of caster sugar evenly over the set custard.
  11. Using a culinary torch (mini flame thrower!), heat the sugar until it melts.  Don’t over heat it otherwise the sugar will burn and give a bitter taste.

I can’t tell you how good my first Crème Brulee tasted, now you know how easy it is try it yourself.

  1. Getting to grips with the tools
  2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar. Make sure you have a very serious look on your face!
  3. Split vanilla pod down the length and then scrape out all the vanilla seeds and place pod and seeds into the pan
  4. Pour hot water into a 3" tray
  5. Pour the custard mixture into the ramekins and then place in oven
  6. Once the set custard has cooled down evenly sprinkle caster sugar over the top and then using a culinary torch melt the sugar.
  7. Let the sugar cool. Unless you want to burn your lip!
  8. Nom nom nom!
  9. My teacher liked it!

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Quote

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."

T. E. Lawrence