Silken Creme Brulee (With 12 Variations)

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READY IN: 1hr 10mins
Recipe by gailanng

This is for the 'temper egg' challenged. Though the recipe is 'temper' free, it truly comes out smooth and silky. From Southern Living, one basic recipe with 12 variations, from sweet to savory. See variations listed in instructions below. The amount yield depends on the size of your cups. You can bake ahead of time, but you should wait until just a few minutes before serving to caramelize the sugar, otherwise the caramelized sugar will begin to liquify if sits for more than an hour. Don't eliminate the waterbath. It creates a cushion from the heat, allowing the custard to bake slowly without curdling. Naturally, cook time varies, but they're easier to make than one thinks...guaranteed.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Whisk together first 4 ingredients until sugar dissolves and mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture evenly into 5 (5"x1") round ramekins or custard cups. Place cups in a large roasting pan or a 15x10" jellyroll pan. Add hot water to pan to a depth of 1/2 inch. (Tip: All baking times are for 5"x1" round baking dishes. Adjust baking time more or less according to your cup size. See test for doneness in next paragraph.) As a general rule, 4 oz. cups yield 10 servings, 6 oz. cups yield 7 servings and 8 oz. cups yield 5 servings.).
  2. Bake at 300 degrees for 40 - 50 minutes or until almost set. Cool custards in water in pan on a wire rack. Carefully remove from pan; cover and chill 8 hours. (Tip: Baking times may need to be adjusted according to size of the baking cups. The creme brulee is done when the center is slightly liquid and a knife will NOT come out clean.).
  3. Sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar over each custard then place custards in a jellyroll pan.
  4. Broil 5 1/2 inches from heat (if using an electric oven, leave door partially open) until sugar melts. (Tip: When you broil the brown sugar, get the creme brulee as close to the heating element as possible. You may need to place an inverted roasting pan on the top shelf of the oven; then place the brulee on a baking sheet on top to elevate. A chef's secret is to nestle the custards in a pan filled with ice; then broil. The ice keeps the custards cold while the sugar melts.) Let stand 5 minutes to allow sugar to harden. Garnish, if desired.
  5. ALMOND CREME BRULEE:.
  6. Reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon; add 1 additional egg yolk, 2 tablespoons almond liqueur and 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds to custard mixture. Proceed as directed in basic recipe; bake 1 hour.
  7. CHOCOLATE CREME BRULEE:.
  8. Cook 4 ounces semisweet chocolate squares and 1/2 cup whipping cream from the basic recipe in a small heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate melts. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups whipping cream; reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon. Proceed as directed in basic recipe; bake 55 minutes.
  9. BERRY CREME BRULEE:.
  10. Place 8 - 10 fresh blackberries or raspberries in each baking dish; pour custard mixture over berries. Proceed as directed in basic recipe; bake 45 minutes.
  11. COFFEE CREME BRULEE:.
  12. Cook 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules and 1/4 cup whipping cream from the basic recipe over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes or until coffee dissolves. Add remaining 1 3/4 cups whipping cream; reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon. Proceed as directed in the basic recipe; bake 45 - 50 minutes.
  13. DOUBLE RASPBERRY CREME BRULEE:.
  14. Reduce vanilla to 1 teaspooon; add 1 additional egg yolk and 1 1/2 tablespoon raspberry liqueur to custard mixture. Place 8 - 10 fresh raspberries in each baking dish; pour custard mixture over berries. Proceed as directed in basic recipe; bake 55 minutes.
  15. GINGER CREME BRULEE:.
  16. Reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon; add 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger to custard mixture. Proceed as directed in the basic recipe; bake 1 hour and 5 minutes.
  17. ORANGE CREME BRULEE:.
  18. Reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon; add 1 additional egg yolk, 2 tablespoons grated orange rind and 2 tablespoons almond liqueur to custard mixture. Proceed as directed in basic recipe; bake 1 hour.
  19. PEPPERMINT CREME BRULEE:.
  20. Reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon; add 1 additional egg yolk and 3 tablespoons peppermint schnapps. Proceed as directed in basic recipe; bake 50 minutes. Substitute 5 hard peppermint candies, crushed (in place of brown sugar); broil as directed.
  21. WHITE CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA CREME BRULEE:.
  22. Cook 4 ounces white chocolate and 1/2 cup whipping cream froom basic recipe in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate melts. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups whipping cream; reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon. Proceed as directed in basic recipe. Place 1 tablespoon chopped macadamias, toasted, in each dish then pour custard over nuts. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  23. ONION CREME BRULEE:.
  24. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in skillet over low heat; add 1 cup coarsely chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes or until caramelized. Reduce sugar in basic recipe to 1 tablespoon, omit vanilla and add 1 teaspoon salt and caramelized onion to the custard mixture. Process onion mixture in a blender until smooth. Proceed as directed in basic recipe; bake 50 minutes.
  25. ROASTED GARLID CREME BRULEE:.
  26. Cut off the flat end of 2 garlic bulbs and spread apart whole cloves, leaving tight outer covering intact. Trim pointed end so bulb will sit flat. Place garlic bulbs, trimmed ends down, on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil; wrap in aluminum foil. Bake 350 dgrees for 1 hour; cool. Squeeze out pulp from each garlic clove. Reduce sugar in basic recipe to 1 tablespoon; omit vanilla and add 1 teaspoon salt and garlic pulp to custard mixture. Process mixture in a blender until smooth. Proceed as directed in basic reicpe; bake 40 minutes.
  27. BLUE CHEESE AND BLACK PEPPER CREME BRULEE:.
  28. Reduce sugar in basic recipe to 1 tablespoon and omit vanilla; add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup blue cheese and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to custard mixture. Process mixture in a blender until smooth. Proceed as directed in basic recipe; bake 45 minutes.

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