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tan319

Classic French Crème Brulée - The Topic

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Dave--you cooked it on the stovetop like a creme anglaise or in the oven? Are you referring to air in this "preset" mixture or air stirred into the raw base and then baked? On this thread we seem to be talking about different methods of making brulee--the hotel high volume "creme anglaise" way (usually with a few extra yolks and or gelatin added) and the traditional way and I think both present different challenges. "Most" people still make creme brulee the old fashioned way. Have you also done it (and observed the same effects)--in this baked way--either in a convection or a conventional oven with a water bath--and if so at what temperature?

Oven-baked, and just from trials and observations, too many bubbles formed into a spongy layer on top seems to occur when the mixture is 1) whisked too vigorously and or 2) baked uncovered at too high heat. Bubbles can also be created by sloppily/too quickly pouring the base into the ramekins. It's certainly possible there are other factors--but torching away surface froth, lowering the heat, NOT whisking vigorously and covering with plastic wrap does produce a wonderful smooth brulee with a glassine surface. Any of these will help Fish improve his product. It seems the suggestion of making the unbaked base mixture a day ahead is also worth testing out side by side.

Stove-top seems to present differently. It's possible to do a very smooth bubble-free "stove-top" brulee literally on the stovetop or in the microwave, as it is a lemon curd. It "seems" to me that gradual heating in the microwave is gentler, more even and less bubble-activating than on the stovetop. The slower temperature rise and gentler stirring tends to promote more cohesive bonds possibly.

Stove-top brulees poured in ramekins after cooking "seem" to work better when you allow the mixture to cool first--and even overnight--then re-warmed slightly and pour. I never get bubbles and I pour it out very thinly into a wide shallow bowl--and then allow it to-re-set--cover with plastic and I'm good to go. (I don't brulee these, just build a dessert on top of this thin layer.) I cool my stove-top batches down with plastic pressed down on the surface--and when cold spoon out quenelles or pipe or pour as a cream. Sometimes I've poured it into half sheet pans or into flexipans to cool and freeze, but that has been for use as a component, not for use as a primary showcase--as it might be poured into a large ramekin.

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I'm not sure exactly what fish is referring to, but what I observed was not a few microbubbles. It was a slightly spongy, lighter colored layer, about 1/4 inch thick, on top of the custard. It would take a lot of air to cause it. I cooked on the stove first -- without boiling or beating, I strained the custard, I gave the portions a good hard tap, and I didn't see any bubbles before baking -- so even if I had known about the trick with the torch, there wouldn't have been any reaon to employ it.

This actually sounds to me like the custard overbaked in the oven. Essentially the mixture boiled a bit on the top and that is what caused the foamy, spongy texture.

And I just wanted to clarify that while I cook my mix on the stove top, I don't actually go all the way to the creme anglais stage. I just boil the milk and cream and temper the eggs with the hot liquid. I pour the warm base in dishes and bake in a shallow water bath at about 325 F. Starting with a warm to hot mixture reduces the amount of time in the oven so the custard doesn't loose too much moisture and helps it to cook more evenly. I believe that putting a cold mix in the oven might tend to promote overbaking because you would have to leave it in longer to cook to the center, so there is more chance of the edges getting too hot before the center is done.

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I just made my first creme brulee's today. I had enough to fill 6 ramekins all the way and the 7th was about 1/3 full. I figured this was good since I could taste it to see if it was any good. Anyway it was a bit eggy but it was also a bit overdone. Could the added cooking time contribute to the "eggy" flavor? The remaining 6 stayed in the oven longer but they were still quivering when I took them out which I presume should be OK. A few have some brown area's but that's probably from the uneven heat.

Anyway, what type of sugar do I sprinkle on top? Turbinado, regular white sugar, superfine?

Thanks,

Joe

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I want to make creme brulee for our family Xmas dinner. Crazy request from the family as I have never made it before, but they all love it.

There will be 25 of us for the meal. Is it possible to make this in a large container, for example, the French white type lasagne dish? I am wondering if the centres will cook thru' in the same amount of time.

Can I keep it cool, bake the second one, and then do the carmalizing just before serving?

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Dry some brown sugar by leaving out for 1 or 2 days, (spread out on a sheetpan or other shallow pan ), then sift that over each ramekin of brulee and then torch.

Jason

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I wouldn't cook it in a large type dish, the centre will take ages to cook, but it will eventually. If you can cook in a saucepan, over a low heat, and then transfer to your serving dish.

If you do cook in your big dishes, the first will be fine while cooking the other.

Good luck hope they turn out ok!

Regards

JOHNNY

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next time you make take them out while they are still quivering, they will carry on cooking while they cool down.

Use a thin layer of white sugar and carmelise then add a second thin layer and caramelise, that way you get a really great caramel on top.

Hope that helps

Regards

JOHNNY

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Don't know if you have a torch or not... but if you're using the broiler, it is good to have the ramekins sitting in a deeper dish with cool water coming halfway up the ramekins. Then, put in them into caramelize the topping after the broiler is preheated. This helps to keep the custard from cooking any more...

May only be my pet peeve, but for creme brulees I like to have the custard below the topping cool and firm; not warm and melty...

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If you search for eggnog creme brulee on epicurious.com, you'll find their recipe which has time and temp for a large creme brulee. I made it last year and it was amazing. I can't recall the size any more, but it may be close to what you are looking for.

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Thanks, kthull, for the lead on eggnog creme brulee. Looks like what I'll be able to handle for the crowd, and I just happen to have lots of eggnog on hand. I'll do the recipe early Xmas morning to serve that evening.

I hope it is a "no fail" recipe!

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Glad to help Dejah, and tan is absolutely right...make it the day before. I've found that eggnog recipes especially need some extra time for the flavors to really become pronounced.

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LOts of creme brulee ?'s lately so here's another.

The recipe I was using called for cream, half and half, sugar, vanilla and 3 whole eggs, not the usual yolks only. Just curious why is tatses "eggy"? It's still good but would like more of a creamy vanilla taste.

Any ideas?

Joe

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I attended a small class by a dessert chef on Creme Brulee a while ago. She suggests making a larger container as it is diffcult to cook the smaller ones evenly, and easy to overcook them. Also recommends making it the day before before topping.

Because we like the individual look, I made it in a larger dish and then cut out portions for smaller ramekins - the topping hides all.

If you are interested in the recipe, I will ask her permission to share it. It's one of the best I have ever tasted!

Tracey

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Tracey,

I would really appreciate the recipe!

kthull,

I am going to take tan's suggestion. I am actually going to make the eggnog one tomorrow for a test run. and I realized after, that it wasn't eggnog-eggnog that I use, but rum and brandy! Please don't expect a report tomorrow night as I may be under the table from the booze! :laugh:

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Hi Everybody!

Is it possible to cut disks of brulee to be used for interiors when molding items?

For example:

I want to make a chocolate dessert cylinder with different layers and then have an orange brulee filling.

Thanks a bunch!

BB

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Bian, re the cut disks of brulee - This is definitely a possibility - especially if you go with the stovetop method and use a bit of gelatin. You can mold off small domes or shapes in flexipans and freeze then pop them out and incorporate in cakes or other desserts, or you can prepare sheets of brulee in the same manner and cut them up.

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Joe--you should be using yolks only. Start with the Jacques Torres creme brulee recipe in Dessert Circus for a baseline and adjust according to the taste and flavor you want.

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Thanks Steve.... I'll give that a try. Ironically, Dessert Circus was a Christmas gift I asked for....

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If you make it stovetop, instead of baking, you can pour it into any container you want. I prefer stovetop, as you have more control over your entire batch (no oven hotspots etc...

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Dejah, just to let you know I sent off email this morning asking for permission to post the recipe but have not heard back - yet. I hope I can get an answer in time!

Good luck with the other recipes you are trying.

Tracey

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If you make it stovetop, instead of baking, you can pour it into any container you want. I prefer stovetop, as you have more control over your entire batch (no oven hotspots etc...

Karen et al,

By making it stovetop, is there another recipe for this...or can I still use any creme brulee recipe? How long do I cook the mixture then? Just until thickened?

Tan suggested making the creme brulee the night before....do I do all the steps, then, instead of putting it in the ramekins and baking immediately, put into containers and refridgerate until I bake them NEXT day?

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Dejah,

I was actually suggestting trying the recipe ahead of time to make sure it tastes ok and to work out any kinks.

I also suggest making the brulees the day before so that the flavor develops too. And you have less stress in your cooking day Of course you would torch them just before you serve.

As for the stovetop method, heat your cream mix to the boil, yolks ready, add the sugar (I use 3/4s in the cream and use the other 1/4 for my eggs) and whisk a bit right before your cream comes to the boil, then temper the yolks with the cream, and pour back into your pot, keeping the heat very low.

Stir slowly across the liquid ( I use a zigzag pattern) and you'll start feeling the liquid thickening. Pull the spoon out and see if the liquid coats the back of the spoon( draw a line with your fingertip acoss the back of the spoon, it should stay clear) You can also use a digital thermometer set at 85c( about 185f) .Take off the heat, strain and pour into your ramakins .

They should be in a pan, ready for a bit of water to cook them in.

Cook them and let them cool off in the water bath.

Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Hope this helps and good luck!

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Thanks for the info', Tan.

I made the eggnog recipe last night and we tasted it tonight. I had some "bubbles" on top, and now I realize I should have strained it as I poured into the baking dish. Otherwise, I browned the sugar under the broiler ( as I don't have my Xmas present yet :wink: ). The family enjoyed my first creme brulee!

Tonight, I was just wanting more info' as I think I am ready to try and make the recipe for the large family dinner on Thurs. I am also making my traditional trifle, just in case :laugh:

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I must credit this to Postrio, I was quite shocked by the method- but it is GREAT!

6c cream

8 oz sugar

pinch salt

1 vaniila bean

24 yolks

In a heavy bottomed pot bring the cream, salt, and split and scraped vaniila bean to a boil. Turn off heat and add the sugar, then temper your yolks with the hot cream (do not whip them- the yolks just need to be broken and stirred). Pour everything back into the pot and turn the heat back on.

1) Never leave the pot.

2) Whisk constantly the sides and bottom to keep custard from sticking and burning.

Bring the mixture to a full boil- make sure that the center of the mixture is bubbling. You are trying to break the custard. You are taking the custard beyond its setting point and then bringing it back.

Strain the custard into a container in an ice bath. Beur mix (or immersion blender) the custard untill smooth. Leave a whisk in the custard and cool slightly. Pour in dishes etc... You will be ready to serve in an hour or so.

This recipe puzzles people- they can't figure out how you got fresh berries under your custard. It was created for volumne production- we could not wait for 45 minute stovetop (this was back in the day when Postrio was serving 500 desserts on a Friday). We also served the brulee in a puff pastry shell- that was one of Wolfgang's signature desserts for years.

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