In partnership with ThermoWorks, I’m going to walk you through the entire Crème Brulee process with helpful tips to make it successful. All opinions expressed here are my own.
NYE DINNER + HAPPY NEW YEAR
Happy New Year! It’s crazy to think that 2018 is officially coming to a close. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with an incredible meal. We’re celebrating with my extended family and I’m most excited about the fact that I’ve been assigned dessert. It didn’t take long for me to decide to make my Cinna-Spiced Crème Brûlée. It’s a family favorite and feels restaurant worthy, even at home. The secret to perfectly cooked creme brulee at home is making sure you don’t undercook or overcook your custard.
Crème brûlée feels like a special occasion dessert, typically one that you might order in a restaurant when you’re celebrating something special. This smooth-as-silk custard is packed with flavor using one of my favorite spice combos this time of year – cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Also, this is one dessert where I never skimp on the vanilla bean. Remember that visible pods mean big flavor.
NICE + EASY
Custards require gentle cooking. It’s the coagulation of egg protein that allows them to gain their structure. Gentle heat is critical throughout the entire cooking process. If the heat is too intense, the egg protein can quickly curdle over the stovetop, or may become too firm after baking in the oven. Maintaining gentle cooking can make or break crème brûlée. There’s no rush here, low and slow should be the name of the game!
GETTING THAT TEMPERATURE JUST RIGHT
When it comes to crème brûlée the custards should bake until the center internal temperature reads 170-175°F — about 25-30 minutes. In addition to a low-temperature oven, I also bake mine in a water bath, also known as a bain-marie where the ramekins are placed in a pan filled with water. Because the water never reaches a temperature higher than that of boiling water, or 212°F, the water helps to slow down the cooking process in these desserts even more.
Cinn-a-Spiced Crème Brulee
Yield 6 servings
Kelsey’s Cinn-a-Spice Blend:
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- 6 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup sugar, divided
For Kelsey’s Cinn-a-Spice Blend:
Combine the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl and mix well.
For the Crème Brulee:
Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Pour the cream into a heavy bottomed medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Split and scrape the vanilla bean into the cream and add the Cinn-a-Spice blend. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Allow the vanilla bean and spices to steep in the cream for 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and ½ cup sugar until pale yellow. Remove the vanilla bean from the spiced cream and whisk the spiced cream into the egg mixture slowly until fully combined.
Evenly divide the mixture among six 8-ounce ramekins. Carefully transfer the ramekins to a 9- inch by 13-inch baking dish. Pour hot water at about 200°F into the baking dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the center internal temperature reads 170-175°F yet slightly loose in the center, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Top each custard with 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a kitchen blowtorch or the broiler caramelize the sugar evenly just before serving.
- 6 (8-ounce) ramekins
- Kitchen Torch