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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Maple Syrup Creme Brulée

This was the first time that I made Creme Brulée, and it wasn't nearly as finicky as I thought it would be. In fact it would be a perfect dessert to serve for guests because it can be made entirely in advance.

Things got a little interesting when I got to this part of the recipe: "sprinkle each creme with a teaspoon of turbinado sugar and caremelize with a blow torch".... well, I don't have one of those nifty little kitchen blow torches, but it's OK - don't worry, I had a plan!! Off I trotted down to Mario's workshop for that big blowtorch he uses on plumbing or something. I fired it up .....WHOOOOSH.... and after my life finished flashing before my eyes, I was left with a pretty impressive looking and nicely browned creme brulee - and I got to use power tools too!! [insert sexy grunting noise here].

I was excited for my kids to try this because they've never had it before (when we're in restaurants they usually go for the "chocolate pudding with crushed Oreos and gummy worms" over anything sophisticated like Creme Brulée). They both ate it well enough, but they weren't too keen on the caramelized sugar crust and I don't think they knew they were eating anything other than plain old Jello Pudding from a box.

Maple Syrup Creme Brulée

2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

1. Preheat oven to 300F.

2. Combine egg yolks, whole egg and maple syrup in a mixing bowl. Meanwhile, heat the cream in a saucepan until it comes to a boil.

3. Whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture. Wait a minute, then add the remaining cream and whisk.

4. Strain the custard into another bowl or a measuring cup. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture into ramekins (I filled 6 ramekins).

5. Place the ramekins in a baking dish and fill the dish with hot water until the water comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 55 minutes.

6. Remove ramekins from water bath and let cool at room temperature. Chill for several hours until ready to serve (you can even do this a day ahead).

7. Fun part: when ready to serve, sprinkle a teaspoon of turbinado sugar (regular sugar worked fine for me) on each creme and caremelize with a blow torch.