Crème Brûlée

December 17, 2015
The king of custards, crème brûlée has probably done more recently to broaden the waistlines of restaurant-goers in the United States than any other dessert. This version, though slightly less rich than most, is taking its toll on my own midregion. Begin this the day before you plan to serve it.


Yield: 6 servings

6 egg yolks
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups light cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/170°C. Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil and reserve.

2. Very lightly whisk the egg yolks and maple syrup together. Scald (see Scalding, left) the creams in a saucepan.

3. Gradually stir the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture, until blended. Do not beat it or the finished texture will be grainy. Stir in the vanilla. Ladle into six individual, ovenproof custard cups or ramekins of about 3/4-cup capacity, filling almost to the rim.

4. Place the cups in a large shallow casserole dish, then carefully pour in the boiled water until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the cups. Take care not to splash water into the cups. Cover loosely with aluminum foil, then bake for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate overnight.

5. About an hour before serving, remove the cups from the refrigerator. Sieve 1 tablespoon of brown sugar directly on top of each custard, spreading it evenly with a fork. Put the cups in a shallow casserole dish, then pour in enough ice water to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Turn on
the broiler and broil the custard close to the heat until the brown sugar bubbles and darkens; watch carefully, or it will burn. Remove from the water bath and let cool.

To scald milk or cream, heat it to just below the boiling point, until tiny bubbles form around the edge of the pot. It helps to rinse the pan first in cold water, for easier cleanup. Milk or cream can also be scalded in the microwave if you have a temperature probe; set it for 180°F/80°C.

Excerpted from The Maple Syrup Cookbook, 3rd Edition by Ken Haedrich