Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie—Crème Brûlée

Crème Brulée in a ring mold
Just a reminder to enter this month's food photography event, Does My Blog Look Good In This? The deadline is TODAY, Tuesday, September 30th at 11:59 p.m. Click here to read the submission guidelines.

Crème Brûlée, which means "burnt cream", used to be the dessert I'd look for on menus when eating out. A favorite restaurant of ours in Ottawa is West End Station Bistro. We used to go there so often, they knew us. Once, when the babysitter called to say we had to get home right away [baby was hungry and bottle wasn't working], the restaurant let us take home two crème brûlées to broil in our oven. The next day, we brought back the empty ramekins. Now that's customer service!

Since then, I've learned how to make this dessert and own a crème brûlée torch. It's been a fun dessert to bring to dinner parties along with the torch and let everyone caramelize their own sugar top.

It's such a versatile dessert that can be flavored any number of ways. I used Chai tea bags steeped in the milk and cream mixture for one batch. I also added a tablespoon of dulce de leche to the milk/cream mixture in another batch. But my favorite version is the original vanilla one.

There's even a website dedicated to this dessert, and here's a great video showing how to make it.

Playing Around

Frozen Crème Brulée in a pyramidThe recipe I usually use for crème brûlée bakes in a water bath, the oven is set to 300˚F, and the custard bakes for 25-30 minutes. In this version, there is no water bath, the oven is set at a lower temperature (200˚F), and the custard bakes for 1 hour (or more!). So, since it was so jiggly even after extra time in the oven, I popped it into the freezer after it cooled to room temperature. It tasted refreshing this way. In fact, the ingredients for crème brûlée are the same as crème anglaise which is the base for ice cream.


Ingredients for Crème BruléeYou can find the recipe for Crème Brûlée in the book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. To see how the rest of the TWD group fared with this week's recipe, click here and then click on each blogger! Thanks to Mari of Mevrouw Cupcake who chose the recipe for this week.

Tasting Notes
This version of crème brûlée was lighter and less dense than the recipes I've used before. It didn't set during baking as much as I expected. However, the taste was amazing. The best part of this dessert is cracking into it with a spoon and getting a mouthful of crunchy sugar with some creamy custard with it. And freezing this version worked well. For the frozen version, a piece of crackly sugar gave it the crunch it needed.
"Amelie has no boyfriend. She tried once or twice, but the results were a letdown. Instead, she cultivates a taste for small pleasures: dipping her hand into sacks of grain, cracking crème brûlée with a teaspoon and skipping stones at St. Martin's Canal."
From the script for the movie Amelie
Recipe for Next Week (October 7)
Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake on pages 264 and 265 chosen by Tammy of Wee Treats by Tammy.

Another Award
Nikki from Nik Snacks gave me the "You make my day award". Well, she made my day with this one. Nikki actually went to Le Cordon Bleu school, has her own blog, teaches cooking classes, is an Editorial Assistant at a local newspaper, and runs her own catering business! Now that's busy.

I now get to pass on the blog love to some of my favorite blogs:

• Kim from Scrumptious Photography has amazing photos. It's always a treat to see what she's been up to.

• Mari from Mevrouw Cupcake has inspiring takes on everything she makes and her posts are fun to read.

• Tommi from Brown Interior always makes me smile when I read her posts and her recipes are very creative and inspiring.

• Steph from Obsessed with Baking has beautiful photos of all the treats she makes in the kitchen.

• Lynne from Café Lynnylu shows off her talent with a camera with every post!

Thanks so much, Nikki. It means a lot to get an award from you!


Mary Ann said...

Beautiful, as always! I love what you did with the creme brulee! I also love the new look of your blog. Great job!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos - very artsy! I loved this challenge - so easy compared to my usual recipe.

Anonymous said...

oh - how perfect, that Amelie quote! I'd forgotten that. it is such a pure and simple pleasure, cracking the sugar. your photos are wonderful as usual!

Gretchen Noelle said...

What fun shapes & sizes. Looks delicious!

vibi said...

Woahhhh! It is not just creativity anymore... it is DALIesque! ...melting caramel for melting clocks!
You are giving in the full artistic measures, my dear Shari! Soon, we'll hear your originality is on display at the Fine Arts' Museum!
I'm totally impressed!

Jodie said...

Your pics are GORGEOUS!

kimberly salem said...

aw, thanks so much for the award, shari!! :) i am so glad you like my blog:)
i love how creative you got with the creme brulee, what an awesome idea to freeze it! love your photos too! i will have to try doing the water bath method next time. mine took forever to set in the oven.

Marthe said...

Wow, your Crème Brûlée looks amazing! I'm glad you liked it!

Maria said...

What gorgeous photos! You are amazing!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I've been on your page for like ten minutes now. That video was really neat. Your playing around idea was too cool, I loved it. And I think you found the perfect créme brûlée quote.

And I greatly appreciate the award! Thank you so much.

CB said...

Awesome awesome awesome as always! The video was fun to watch! I love the idea of making this for a party and letting guest torch their own. I totally have to do that for my next party! Your dulce de leche variation sounds amazing! Great job!
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

Engineer Baker said...

I think I need to try the frozen variation, it sounds delicious. Beautiful pictures.

Laura said...

Simply beautiful - your photos are outstanding! I realllly liked this creme brulee too and am looking forward to trying it again (sadly, it was gone all too fast with 4 kids!).

Welcome to our crazy blessed life said...

Yours looks absolutely beautiful!! I love the quotes you added in too nice touch!

chocolatechic said...


Just stunning.

Anonymous said...

Love your photos, and that triangular shape is wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Your photographs are beautiful and your creme brulee looks delicious!

Christine said...

Beautiful photos! Looks delicious!

marae said...

looks lovely...!! i did not have time to do the creme brulee this week so i am living vicariously through everyone's fab photos.

Mari said...

Thank you so much for the award Shari! Your take on Dorie's crème brûlée is fabulous, as always! The pyramid shaped custard is so cool!

Anonymous said...

Great pictures!

Zoe Francois said...

What a great idea to freeze them, it make perfect sense. Bravo, they look amazing.

Unknown said...

Wonderful pictures! You're so creative!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i couldn't wait to see what you did this time! looks great, and frozen brulee sounds delicious--like the best pudding pop ever! wonderful flavor variety, too.

love your new blog layout, btw--very "smart" and clean!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow. Brilliant. I used to poo poo brulee as 'too plain' and I never ordered it when out. Then, for whatever reason, it hit me. The simplicity is the very delicious point.

Tammy said...

wow! that looks amazing!!

Heather B said...

I love your photos! Your creme brulee looks fabulous!

Susan @ SGCC said...

I love what you did with this! The pools of molten sugar are so cool! I agree with Vibi. Totally Daliesque. Great job!

Rigby said...

Your custard looks wonderful! I love the idea of brulee as a party food :)

Colleen said...

This looks great - you take such beautiful photos!

Cathy said...

Your photos simply blow me away. It is really fun to read your take on Dorie's creme brulee, since you've made other creme brulee recipes before. The freezer was a great idea. I totally agree that this is a fun party recipe, what with the blowtorch and all.

Jules Someone said...

Gorgeous photos! Looks amazing.

NKP said...

Wonderful! I love the sugar sculptures. And the frozen creme brulee is a great idea.

Katie said...

These look amazing. I love you you played around with the brulee and kept the sugar shards seperate.

Lynne Daley said...

I always love seeing your photos. So pretty. Thanks for the award! I'm honored.

Shari said...

mary ann - I think the blog is behaving better for people (I hope).

chezus - It was easy, but I think I'm going back to a water bath since it was very jiggly.

lori - I love cracking the top of the creme too, but I'll eat creme brulee without the brulee too!

gretchen noelle - Thanks!

vibi - I hadn't noticed that the crackly sugar looked DALIesque!

jodie - Thanks!

kim - Yea, I'm going back to the water bath next time, but the taste of these ingredients was perfect!

marthe - Thanks!

maria - Aw, blush.

rainbowbrown - I found the video useful too.

cb - I like creme brulee flavored with ANYTHING!

engineer baker - The frozen version was great for this recipe since it came out so jiggly for me.

laura - My kids are so picky -- only 1 of the 3 liked it!

karen - Thanks!

chocolatechic - You're too sweet!

madam chow - Thanks! That pyramid stack has come in handy now and then!

kimberly - Thanks!

pinkstripes - Thanks!

christine - It was too delicious! I've eaten way too many of them.

mara - Hope you get a torch someday so you can try making your own.

mevrouw cupcake - Thanks for such a good pick. It's a favorite dessert for me.

bakingwiththeboys - Thanks!

zoe francois - It was an experiment that worked! Yay.

tracey - Thanks!

steph - It is one of the best pudding pops going!

eb - It is so simple, but delicious.

tammy - Thanks!

heather b - It was so delicious.

stickygooeycreamychewy - And they're yummy to eat too!

rigby - Everyone loves to make their own or play with their food. Plus the pyrotechnics in the group have a whole lot of fun!

colleen - Thanks!

cathy - You're so sweet!

jules someone - Thanks!

natashya - The sugar sculptures were so fun and easy to make too!

katie - It's nice to have an extra crunch with dessert!

lynnylu - Thanks, and you deserve that award!

Thanks everyone for stopping by and leaving a comment!!


Prudy said...

That is utterly inspiring. You do such gorgeous work; it's an absolute treat to come by.

Shari said...

prudy - You`re so sweet for saying that! Thanks!

Jessica Eiden Smedley said...

Shari - I love the idea of bringing the torch to dinner parties and letting people use it!

Great job - I really enjoy the mention of Amelie!

Shari said...

jessica - I think parties are always more fun if you get the guests involved somehow! And it includes FIRE!

Jacque said...

Ooooh, very stylish creme brulee you've got there. That's something I would expect to see in a posh (expensive) restaurant. Nice work!

LyB said...

You're always so creative! Your pics are really fabulous, well done!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful job, Shari...gorgeous photos, as always. I loved the post...very helpful. I loved the video, very nicely done. Thanks for sticking that in there.

I wasn't going to make this as it is my all-time favorite dessert and I figured I would be better off sticking to it at the restaurants and NOT KNOWING how to make it at home...it would be too tempting to make it too often! I might cave...everyone just raves about it....hmmmm...torn between temptation and prudence. LOL!

Jaime said...

wow, that is stunning. i love what you did w/this recipe

Anonymous said...

I just came across your blog and subscribed - I love it! Your photos are wonderful. :)

A Little Cake said...

Wow!!! Very creative!!