November 12, 2004

Vanilla Crème Brûlee

Vanilla Crème Brûlee

(from Mike's blog)

I altered Gotham Bar and Grill's version by substituting the more traditional vanilla bean for the 1/2 cup of chopped ginger. I still prefer the water bath method of cooking the creme over the stovetop method espoused by Julia Child. Gotham is IMHO one of the best restaurants in all of Manhattan. I hope they don't mind me paraphrasing their recipe here.

Makes 8 servings

4 C Heavy cream
1 Vanilla bean
12 large egg yolks
1 C sugar

Preheat oven to 325 deg.

Cut the vanilla bean length-wise and scrape the seeds into a medium sized saucepan. Put the pod in there too. Bring it to a simmer and keep it simmering gently for 30 minutes.

In a non-reactive bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. Gradually pour in the cream, whisking as you pour. Strain through a wire mesh sieve into another bowl. Discard the vanilla pod. Stir to distrubute the seeds evenly.

Place 6 oz. ramekins in a baking dish and ladle equal amounts of the egg/cream mixture into each. Put enough hot water into the baking pan so that it comes up to 1/2 the height of the ramekins. Bake for 40-50 minutes until firm (the centers may still be a bit loose).

Remove ramekins from water bath and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Do this the night before:
For the sugar crust on top...
Use 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar. Rub the sugar through a wire sieve over a rimmed cookie sheet and let dry overnight. This gets rid of any moisture. The next day, rub the sugar over the ramekins. YOu can put the ramekins under a broiler to carmelize the sugar, but its much cooler to use a mini hand-held propane torch

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