Irish Creme Brûlée

Top of the mornin’ to you all!  I hope March is treating you well, and that your tax return was in your favor!  Some of you may know that I work at a restaurant as the dessert chef.  It’s a very part time kind of gig, and while I do cook up some very delicious desserts, it’s not super fancy or prestigious.  It does allow me to be creative, as I do have free reign (within reason) to do whatever I want, and I’m getting some great experience!

I’ve been wanting to do a creme brûlée cause, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the creamy custardy goodness complimented with that bittersweet crunch of caramelized sugar?  It’s also not offered by too many restaurants around Lincoln.

With it being March and St. Patrick’s day and all, I’ve been lovin me some Bailey’s on the rocks.  It’s my grandmother’s year round drink, and I’ve also acquired quite a taste for it.  While brainstorming dessert ideas I decided that a creme brûlée combined with Bailey’s is just what the doctor ordered.  It really is divine.

If you’ve never made creme brûlée before don’t fret!  While it can be a tricky, I’m going to give you a few hints to help ensure that you have success!

  1. Temperature is important!  Throughout the process you want to make sure you’re paying attention to the temperature of the ingredients, as well as the final product.  When heating the cream mixture, you want to keep it from boiling.  I wait for it to start steaming, and remove it from heat before it begins to boil.  When you are mixing the cream into the eggs, you’ll want to be sure to do it slow enough so that you do not curdle the eggs.  Nothing ruins creme brûlée like scrambled eggs mixed all up in your custard.  This process is called tempering.   You’ll want to bring the temperature of the eggs up to about the temperature of the cream before adding the whole mixture back into the pot.  I do this by touch, but a thermometer would help you if you are unsure.  When baking the creme brûlée, you’ll want to remove it from the oven when they reach 165-170 degrees.
  2. Strain the mixture before baking it.  This will remove any impurities, or coagulated egg whites that snuck into the custard.
  3. Use a water bath.  It is more work and slightly annoying but it is worth it!  this will ensure even baking and prevent the bottoms and sides from browning.
  4. Do not disturb the baking process.  I know it’s ever so tempting to take a peek at them while they’re baking, but set a timer, and lock up the oven if you must.  You do not want to let the steam created from the water baths escape.

Now that you’ve got the secrets to success, it won’t be long before you have this:

Mhmm, so dreamy.  This recipe is easy, and so delicious.  We’ve been selling it left and right at the restaurant! Perfect recipe to impress your special someone or bff on a special occasion.

 

Ingredients
1 quart of heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 C sugar
7 egg yolks
3.5 ounces Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/8 tsp salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large saucepan.  If using a vanilla bean, cut the bean in half and scrape the inside out, adding it to the cream.  Put the entire bean in to allow it to steep.

In a medium sized bowl, place the separated egg yolks, Bailey’s, and salt.  Whisk together until combined.

When the heavy cream mixture is steaming, remove from heat and slowly add it to the eggs while whisking at the same time.  Using a ladle or measuring cup will help, and placing the bowl on a wet towel will help it from moving while you whisk.  It is very important to constantly whisk to avoid egg coagulation.  Add enough cream to bring the eggs up to about the same temperature as the cream-about half of the mixture is necessary.

Add the egg and cream mixture back to the saucepan and place back on heat briefly.  Just long enough to bring the temperature up to steaming, then remove it.

Line a large sheet pan with towels, and place the ramekins with space between them.  This recipe will make 6-8 brûlées depending on the size of your ramekins.  Divide the cream mixture between the ramekins, and place the pan in the oven.  Using a pitcher or large measuring cup, pour hot water carefully onto the pan to fill the space between ramekins.

Close the oven, set your timer for 35 minutes, and occupy yourself so you aren’t tempted to disturb the baking custards.

When the timer goes off, use a temperature probe to see if they are done.  The temperature should be between 165 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the custards are done they should still have a bit of a jiggle to them.  They need to cool completely, at minimum 4 hours in the fridge, before eating.

Of course before you serve them you need to get that delicious crunchy crust.  Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar on the top of the cooled custard, and use a torch to burn (brûlée) the sugar.  If you don’t have a torch, the broiler setting on the oven will work, but be sure to keep an eye on them!

 

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