crème brûlée, almost.

This post is coming to you from O’Hare Airport in Chicago, where I’m waiting to catch a connecting flight to Iowa. I missed mine by about 10 minutes. I’m having great luck traveling so far, as you can see. Anyway- good time for blogging I think.

For graduation, Aaron gave me a blow torch. This is a normal graduation gift, right? He specifically requested crème brûlée, so I had to deliver. I believe he has other recipe ideas that will require an open flame. I hope to bring them to you here.

I went with my homegirl Ree Drummond for the recipe. Let me tell you, even though the ingredient list is short this is pretty much an all day endeavor. Lots of patience and waiting. If you know me in real life you know I’m good at both of these things.

It also doesn’t help that I had never eaten crème brûlée prior to trying to make it myself. Not much to compare it to. But I think my version was excellent, despite some kitchen equipment issues that I will outline below for your reading pleasure.

Crème Brûlée

(slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

1 quart heavy cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

10 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar, plus more for the top

Pour the cream into a saucepan, and add vanilla and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring every couple minutes.

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While this is going on, separate your eggs. We want 10 yolks people! Save those egg whites for omelettes.

They’re good for you.

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Here is where a Kitchen Aid would come in handy. Oh well. Whip your egg yolks with 3/4 cups sugar (I used a hand mixer) for several minutes until they have thickened and are pale yellow. It needs to be paler yellow than the picture below. Just keep whipping.

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Now you slowly add the cream. You don’t want to dump in a bunch of hot cream because then you have scrambled eggs. Keep on whipping that mixture as you add. You need 7 hands to accomplish this and also take photos, hope that’s okay.

Then once it’s all combined, you have to skim the foam off the top. There’s a lot of foam. It tastes delicious. You should invite friends over and eat it.

Here’s where I ran into problems:

1) I only have 3 ramekins. I had a lot of liquid-to-become-custard. Extra, non-matching dishes were required.

2) You’re supposed to bake them in a water bath on a baking sheet. None of my baking sheets have a rim tall enough to accomplish this, so I used Pyrex. Glass does not conduct heat the same way metal does. This is important.

But let’s assume you have the appropriate stuff to pull this off. You pour the mixture into your beautiful matching ramekin set. You place them carefully on your baking sheet (maybe like a brownie pan? But a metal one. Has to be metal.) You pour some water onto the baking sheet until it’s about halfway up the ramekins.

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This photo is to illustrate that I did not follow the instructions. That’s basically a dish bigger than my head sitting in Pyrex. This is what I did with all that leftover mixture that didn’t fit into my 3 ramekins.

Then you slowly and carefully put your appropriate baking sheet with the water with the ramekins into a 325 degree oven and bake for about 30 minutes. Ree says the tops shouldn’t be browned. That’s the job of the blowtorch, DUH. So this is what mine looked like when they came out.

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I thought I was golden! Pun intended. But they seemed really jiggly. Still confident, I let them cool on the counter for about an hour, and then put them in the fridge for another 3 hours, convinced they would firm up. Still jiggly. Definitely not cooked through.

It was at this point that I figured the whole Pyrex business was probably wrong. Luckily I had inhaled a lot of that foam, and realized that the concoction tastes like vanilla ice cream. To the freezer they went!

After about an hour in the freezer, I wanted some damn dessert. I sprinkled regular sugar on top (if you have superfine sugar, use it) and went to town with my blowtorch.

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So much excitement! So many hours spent in preparation!

I cracked that delicious burnt sugar crust to find…

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Basically melted vanilla ice cream. BUT BUT the most important thing is that it tasted sooooo good.

That huge container of the extra that I showed you before? That stayed in the freezer. The GS ate about half of it and said it tasted just like ice cream. And who doesn’t like ice cream?

I may have gotten the texture wrong, but did you notice I got all of those little accents right on the letters?! We all have our strengths.

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