So Zeke and my first date was February 7th, 2003. It was supposed to be a “one date and one date only” deal, since I was dating someone else, but I forgot my sweater in his car and he brought it over the following Monday. We started talking and made future plans for that weekend. A week after our first date, on Valentine’s Day, he called me and said he’d be right over for his “heart-shaped creme brulee”. I was slightly panicked, as I had plans with the other guy I was dating that night, but he was just kidding.
At any rate, I eventually dumped the other guy and for our three-month anniversary, I did indeed make him a heart-shaped Creme Brulee. I remember I had a hard time finding the heart-shaped ramekins, since I’d just moved into my grandmother’s house and they were stashed away somewhere. I’m sure some people thought it was silly celebrating a three-month anniversary, but after having survived a bitter divorce (me) and the loss of a spouse (he), we decided to take every opportunity to celebrate any happy occasions life offered up.
Thus, Creme Brulee became “our dessert”, just like “Can’t Help Falling In Love” became “our song”. We ordered it out on dinner dates and tried many different versions. The recipe I made was from Joy of Cooking and I liked it because the crunchy candy topping could be made ahead and it would stay hard for up to 12 hours. It’s kind of the Viagra of Creme Brulees!
But Zeke got me a propane torch for Christmas, so this year I made the topping with sprinkled granulated sugar, which I caramelized with the blow torch. Much easier than the original, but it has to be done at the last minute, as it doesn’t stay crunchy for long.
I made these Creme Brulees for Valentine’s Day this year, but you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to make them. Celebrate every day! Here’s the original recipe I used, without the Caramel Glaze I. Please note you need some time to make these, as they have to sit in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
Celebration Creme BruleeCourse: DessertCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium
2 cups heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
- Heat heavy cream until almost simmering.
- In a medium bowl, stir eggs and sugar with a wooden spoon, just until blended.
- Gradually stir in the hot cream.
- Strain this mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup with a lid or a bowl.
- Pour into six to eight 4 to 6 ounce custard cups or ramekins and place in a water bath.
- Turn oven on to 250 degrees and bake until the custards are set but still slightly quivery in the center, about 1 hour.
- Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 2 days.
- Shortly before serving, blot any liquid that has formed on the surface with paper towel, then caramelize the surface.
- Sprinkle a fine layer of sugar over the surface and caramelize with a propane torch until the sugar melts and darkens.
- To make a water bath, put a rack or dishtowel on a rimmed cookie sheet. Place ramekins on a rack or dishtowel, without touching each other or the sides. Pour custard mixture into ramekins, place in oven and pour scalding-hot water onto the surface of the cookie sheet. See video above.
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