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Ervin's Home Made Creme Brulee

Some might call this custard "crema catalana"; and, when it is topped with the singed-sugar surface & presented in porcelain ramekins, "creme brulee". I first ate this treat about 1988 in Orlando and instantly remembered this taste in NYC, below. My favorite use is to make a batch of the custard, keep it in the refrigerator (might "keep" a week or so), and...when I wish...spoon together a layered mixture of the custard and blueberries in something like a parfait glass. I first encountered the custard & this fruit-custard mix at the Sunlight Cafe in New York City (on a U. S. Open trip) about 1985 & never thereafter. The following presumes pasteurization of cream (so, no need to scald).

Ingredients:

  •  8-10 egg yolks (have a ratio of no fewer than 2 per cup of cream)
     
  • 4 cups (1 qt) of heavy whipping cream (8 or more % fat...lesser fat will make a lighter texture, too light for my tastes)
     
  • 1/2 to 1 cup white sugar (depending on desired degree sweetness)...13 tablespoons of sugar by another recipe.
     
  • sloppy-full teaspoon of vanilla extract
     
  • larger than 1 quart baking dish (must hold a quart-plus of custard mix)
     
  • a second (I prefer metal with handles...roaster) container to hold baking dish in water, water to go half-way up sides the of height of the mix in the baking dish, making a water bath around the baking dish.
     
  • oven pre-heated to 325 degrees F.

 

Steps for custard:

  •  separate yolks (need not be careful...one recipe uses whole egg) & stir
     
  • heat cream a bit to ease taking up of sugar & then add sugar
     
  • add (1) cream-sugar mix to yolks while stirring; (2) then add vanilla extract
     
  • pour all in baking dish; place dish in water bath; into oven (no need to cover)
     
  • after about 30 minutes baking, check every 10 minutes until custard "jiggles" faintly solidly when disturbed or heavily coats a spoon.
     
  • remove & refrigerate overnight to "set"; then use with fruit as above; or...

 

Creme brulee:

  •  either scoop custard into ramekins or alter above cooking so as to actually cook in ramekins, originally.
     
  • sprinkle (brown?) sugar thinly over surface, a thickness of 3-4 grains
     
  • arrange filled ramekins in a low container so ice or ice-water can surround
     
  • place oven rack close to coils so broil until sugar layer melts...!!! closely watch while doing so!..."jerk" from beneath coils, just in time.
     
  • alternatively, melt sugar surface with hand-held torch.
    (check out creme brulee info @ Wikipedia)
     

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(posted 13 July 2005; adjusted 4/17/09)