Creme Brulée

Creme Brulée

For many years I've been struggling with the problem of what to do with extra egg yolks. My very favorite food ever is chocolate angel food cake, the recipe for which requires an outrageous 12 egg whites, and to get all those egg whites I've often found myself just throwing out the yolks, which of course I hate doing because of the waste involved.

But now I finally have a counterpart dessert I can cook whenever I bake an angel food cake: Creme Brulée.

I wasn't previously familiar with this treat, but it appeared at the top of the list when I started searching for recipes that use a lot of egg yolks, and when I mentioned this to Robin and she told me that Creme Brulee was her favorite dessert of all time, I knew I had the answer. I just needed to learn how to make it!

Curiously, my search for a recipe turned up a lot of contradictory information. I compared at least 6 different recipes and they all used more or less the same ingredients but in wildly differing amounts. So I put all the data I could find into a table and averaged them together into my own unique formula. I tried it out for the first time this week, with Robin as the expert taster in my test audience, and I'm delighted to report that it worked really well! I thought it was incredibly delicious, and Robin declared it to be perfect! And it was actually pretty easy to make! (Of course, it's also outrageously rich and unhealthy, but hey, it's dessert, such things are supposed to be that way.)

So here's my recipe:

Combine cream and sugar and microwave for 90 seconds. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the vanilla and salt, then whisk in the yolks. Divide mixture among six 7 oz ramekins. Arrange dishes in a baking pan. Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up the sides of ramekins. Bake custards at 325 for 45-50 minutes. Chill overnight. Sprinkle brown sugar atop each custard. Using a spatula or knife, spread the sugar evenly and not too thickly. If you don't have a fancy kitchen blowtorch, you can place dishes on small baking sheet and place under broiler on the very top rack, directly under the flame (assuming you have a gas oven). Broil just until the sugar is caramelized, 90 seconds to 2 minutes; watch carefully. Rechill, and serve as soon as the sugar shell has hardened.

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