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Recipe for :

Crème Brulée

This recipe comes from Chef Jim Fisher who now runs cooking holidays in the Dordogne.

If you would like to know more about Jim and how he gained his love of cooking why not have a look at his biography page <click here>

To find out more about the cooking holidays in France at Jim's cooking school in the Dordogne you will need to visit his web site <click here>

Jim said about this recipe:

Crème Brulée is one of those dishes that chefs seem to insist on "enhancing", adding bits of fruit, nuts, or - worst still - oatmeal. I suppose their reasoning is that nobody could possibly be interested in such a simple dessert in these complex foodie days. They are wrong. Crème Brulée is Crème Brulée. It is beautiful. If you want to add foreign bodies to it, then it isn't Crème Brulée anymore. Got it? Good!

Rant over. Now, I think the easiest, and possibly least stressful way to caramalise the topping is with a blowtorch. However, as most people don't own one, and calling out the plumber at nine in the evening could prove a tad expensive, just place the sugared puddings under a very hot pre-heated grill until golden and bubbling (watch them like a hawk, though). Remember to leave the desserts to rest for a while in order to let the suger harden and the ramekins cool down.

The Spanish have a dessert - called Crema Catalana - which is essentially identical, bar the flavouring: instead of vanilla, use a stick of cinamon, broken into pieces. In typical flamboyant Spanish style, they singe the top with a red hot iron!

Ingredients

500ml (18fl oz) double cream
1 fat vanilla pod
approx. 100g (4oz) caster sugar (plus extra for the topping)
6 egg yolk

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to gas Mark1 (275°F / 140°C)
  • Pour the cream into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into the cream. Bring to boiling point, then lower the heat and simmer gently for five minutes.
  • Beat the sugar and egg yolks together in a large heat-proof bowl until pale and creamy. Bring the cream back to boiling point, then pour over the egg mixture whisking all the time until thickened - this indicates that the eggs have begun to cook slightly.
  • Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl and fill six ramekins about two thirds full. Place the ramekins in a large roasting tray and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place on the centre shelf and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the custards are just set and still a bit wobbly in the middle. Remove from the roasting tray and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • When you are ready to serve, sprinkle one level teaspoon of caster sugar evenly over the surface of each crème, then caramelise with a blowtorch.
  • Leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then enjoy one of France's greatest contributions to eating pleasure.

Serves 6

Chef Jim Fisher
CookInFrance

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