Stovetop crème brûlée

Stovetop crème brûlée

By
From
How to Cook Desserts
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

This method of making crème brûlée involves cooking the custard until thick on the stove rather than the more traditional method of slow cooking in the oven, and gives a particularly velvety texture. Ideally, you would start to prepare this dish a day in advance. You will need 4 traditional custard 'ear dishes', or other shallow individual gratin dishes.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
8 egg yolks
80g caster sugar
4-6 tablespoons demerara sugar

Method

  1. Place the custard dishes on a baking sheet in the fridge to chill. Pour the cream into a medium saucepan. Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways, scrape out the seeds and put the pods and seeds into the cream. Place over a medium heat and bring to scalding point. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for at least 5 minutes, but ideally 20–30 minutes for a more pronounced vanilla flavour.
  2. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl, add the caster sugar and mix well to combine.
  3. Place a fine sieve over a separate medium bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, reheat the infused cream. Gradually pour small amounts of the hot cream over the yolk mixture in the bowl, stirring until it has all been incorporated. Rinse out the pan.
  4. Return the mixture to the clean pan and place over a medium to low heat. It is very important to stir the mixture slowly and constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent it from curdling. Continue to stir and heat; as the temperature rises the cream will begin to steam and start to thicken. It is cooked when the mixture has thickened considerably, resembling the consistency of natural yoghurt, with the vanilla seeds suspended within. Immediately strain through the sieve into the bowl.
  5. Remove the dishes from the fridge and divide the brûlée mixture evenly between them. Return to the fridge for 24 hours, uncovered to encourage them to develop a slight skin.
  6. Remove the dishes from the fridge, one by one, 10 minutes before serving, and sprinkle 1–1½ tbsp demerara sugar over the surface of each, tilting and tapping the dish to ensure an even covering of sugar across the top.
  7. Use a cook's blowtorch to caramelise the topping to a deep golden brown. Alternatively, you can place the dishes under the grill to colour. Return the brûlées to the fridge for 5–10 minutes before serving, to allow the caramel to cool and set quickly, so that it has a proper crack when tapped with a spoon.

Using a digital thermometer...

  • If you have a digital thermometer, hold the probe with the same hand as the heatproof spatula or wooden spoon with which you are stirring; this will provide you with a reliable reading of the temperature of the mixture. Stir the mixture until it reaches 84°C for the perfect set. However, if you don’t have such equipment at home, don’t worry, the recipe above describes what to look for when making the custard without.
Tags:
leiths
desserts
baking
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