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New Year, New Go-To Dessert

New Year, New Go-To Dessert

It's 2017!!! And a 2017 resolution of mine is to get back on the horse and get Pineapple Excess going again. 2016 was busy, overwhelming, heartbreaking, and a ton of fun. Although it can be cliche to frame everything in calendar years, I quite like the idea of a fresh start and a kick in the butt to get new things done. So here goes nothing... 

For new year's eve my boyfriend and I had a couple of friends over for a long dinner and then went to Prospect Park to watch the fireworks at midnight. Because I was a little overambitious and wanted to plan out three extensive courses I chose creme brulee for dessert so I could make it in advance. Plus there's nothing like blow torching dessert after a few glasses of champagne. 

People are generally intimidated by custards like creme brulee because they're baked in a water bath. But what that ultimately means is that they're foolproof! Because water will only reach 212 degrees Fahrenheit it keeps delicate custards from over baking. Although this recipe requires a couple pieces of special equipment - shallow baking ramekins and a blow torch - it's a show stopper that you'll want to make again and again. 

Classic Creme Brulee 

Serves 6

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for finishing
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 6 egg yolks 

Preheat oven to 300F. 

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, sugar and vanilla bean and seeds. Bring to a simmer without boiling and remove from the heat. 

In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot cream mixture until fully incorporated and repeat with a second 1/4 cup. Then slowly whisk in the remaining cream mixture. 

Pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a clean mixing bowl. Allow to sit for a few minutes and then skim the foam from the top. Meanwhile, boil a few cups of water. 

Set 6 shallow baking ramekins in a large metal baking pan. Distribute the custard among the ramekins. Place the baking pan on a rack in the middle of the oven and carefully pour the boiling water into the pan so it comes halfway up the ramekins. Bake until the custard is just set, 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. 

At this point the ramekins can be tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for 24 hours or frozen for up to three days. When it's time to serve, liberally sprinkle the top of the custard with sugar and torch until golden brown (note: even the frozen custards should thaw completely from the torching). 

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