Break My Heart -Crème Brûlée

Crème brûlée .....well what can I say except I must have eaten about 20 of these last year and I loved every soft custardy mouthful and will probably eat at least 25 this's good to push boundaries and challenge yourself right?! I grew up with a certain disdain for custard, I would crinkle my nose if told dessert was to be custard with bananas or stewed apple. The reason being that, my mother, whose apron strings I was cut from and who taught me that you can make anything from scratch and if you can you should...the last person on earth you would think to have a tin of custard powder in her press....well she did...Susan your secret is out now. It wasn't until my 20's that I realised the beauty of making your own. I think I thought the reason my mother used powdered was that the real thing wasn't much better. Mon dieu......nothing, I repeat nothing, could be further from the truth!

I believe that everyone has an inner pyromaniac and for mine I bought a blowtorch last year online  Kitchen Cookware Blowtorch and what's the first thing you think of making? Crème brûlée naturally and that's when my love affair really started. Who doesn't feel like a child as you poise your spoon over the burnt crispy sugary top, that brief moment of anticipation just before the crack and then the plunge into the thick vanilla custard? My last supper death row wish dish would definitely be a very large portion of crème brûlée...'Take me to the chair I can die happy'. Apologies for getting a bit Nigella there earlier - but jaysus tis a fierce sexy dessert!

What you need:
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod -split length ways with seeds scraped out
  • 20g caster sugar
  •  3 egg yolks 
  • caster sugar for sprinkling at the finish   
 What you need to do:
  • Preheat the oven to 150C  / Gas 2
  • Pop a sauce pan onto a medium heat, add the cream along with your vanilla pod and seeds
  • Bring to the boil, then set aside, discarding the vanilla pod.

Making brulee for a large number at the supper club!

  • Whisk the yolks and caster sugar in a good sized bowl.
  • Sit your bowl on a tea towel to keep it steady, pour your cream vanilla mixture into a jug.
  • Now slowly pour the warm cream onto the yolks and whisk like a mad thing so that it doesn't curdle.
  • Get a roasting tray/dish pop your ramekins in and divide the mixture. Carefully pour cold water until it comes up 2/3 of the side of the ramekins. Tip-You can put the tray in the oven first and then gently put the cold water in.
  • Cook in the oven for 40 mins -or until the custard is set. There should be a little wobble. Remove from oven and allow to cool, then pop into the fridge -over night is best.
  • Sprinkle caster over the tops and blowtorch to your hearts content...but with care of course! If you have to caramelise them under a high grill be sure to return to fridge to cool again for 30-45 mins.
  • Serve with a smile :)
Tips for you:
  • I served  crème brûlées for my Halloween supper  Spooky Kabuki Supper Club for a twist I popped a couple of fresh raspberries at the bottom of each ramekin. It worked well, just make sure that any berries you use are as dry as they can be and don't use frozen as the juice from them will mingle with the custard and it wont set well at all.
  • For the Christmas Special Supper I added some festive spices to the cream at the beginning and then I simply crumbled some plum pudding into the bases. These were a real hit with the guests and they work well in monetary terms because you can stretch the custard mixture further.
  • You can freeze your egg whites for use at a later date -they just loose a little of their foaming power but can be kept for quite a few months in the freezer. Freeze individually.
Image courtesy of  National Education Network