What is better for dessert than a flaming creme brulee!
This recipe makes 7 to 8 brulees depending on the size of ramekin you use. Cooked creme brulees will keep in the refrigerate for about 5 to 6 days.
You can flame the creme brulees tableside. To do this at home, have small containers of Grand Marnier (about 1 teaspoon per brulee) ready to place on the brulee right after caramelizing them. Then get a long match or hand held kitchen lighter and light them. The trick is to put the liqueur on the brulees while the sugar is hot and to not “over liqueur” the brulees. Too much Grand Marnier and the brulees will not light. A teaspoon or so is all you need. Of course, they are just as delicious simply crisped with the sugar.
Butane kitchen torches are available in specialty food stores. You can also go to a hardware store and look for a larger version. They are usually the same price and you get more fuel. The torch we are using in our photo is from Ace Hardware.
- 4 cups of heavy whipping cream
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons sugar for caramelizing the creme brulees
- 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier (for optional flaming of brulees)
To prepare the ramekins
Place 7 to 8 ramekins in a baking pan with two inch sides. The amount of ramekins you need depends on their size. We use 8 ounce ramekins
so we get seven out of a batch. If you use a 6 or 7 ounce ramekin you will get 8 brulees out of a batch.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. I prefer to use a lower heat oven to bake the brulees. I also cook them for a longer time. The slow baking
and low heat make the brulees cook evenly without cracking.
Place the cream in a heavy sauce pot. If using a vanilla bean, split the bean in half. Carefully scrape the inside of the bean into the cream.
Place the scraped bean directly into the cream. This allows you to get the maximum amount of vanilla from the bean. If using vanilla extract,
simply add the extract to the cream
Place the yolks in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and whisk yolks for several minutes to combine. When the cream simmers
(small bubbles on the side of the pan), whisk it into the egg mixture. Whisk to combine. Strain the mixture into another bowl or
large pitcher. By straining the mixture, you will catch the vanilla bean pieces and any bits of yolks that did not get combined into the mixture.
Divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins or custard cups. Pour enough hot water into the pan (hot tap water is fine) to create a water
bath that reaches about 1 1/2 inches high.
Place the brulees in the preheated oven. The brulees bake best if they are in the middle rack of the oven. Bake brulees for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Check for doneness. The brulees should be firm in the middle but still jiggle slightly. They will firm up a little more when refrigerated. If the
middle of the brulees is still liquidy, bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer.
Remove from the oven and let cool. When cool, place in refrigerator and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnite.
Broiler method of caramelizing
Sprinkle each brulee with a light coating of sugar. Put under the broiler until sugar turns golden. Remove from the broiler.
Note that depending on the strength of your broiler, the brulees may keep liquidy if under the flame too long.
Butane torch method of caramelizing (Preferred method)
To flame with Grand Marnier (optional)
Immediately serve by putting one teaspoon of orange liqueur on the brulees. Ignite with a long match or hand held lighter. If flaming the brulees,
light them in front of your guests – you don’t want to “travel” with them to another room while they are flaming. It’s also a great effect to dim the
lights when flaming them.