So, apparently I’m as bad as my kids as I chose to do a non-cake for my birthday. I went with a Bailey’s Irish Cream Creme Brulee instead. YUM!
Normally, I let Hubby just get me dinner from somewhere so I don’t have to cook, but I just didn’t want to do that this year. Instead, I chose a couple of easy but awesome things for dinner and then dessert.
This is really not that difficult and the recipe is pretty simple when you do a basic version. Of course, mine isn’t quite basic since it is Bailey’s. Even that was adapted from a coffee version because I was out of a couple of the essential ingredients. The asterisk is because this recipe isn’t for the basic creme brulee, but rather the different options I make.
Coffee Creme Brulee (Bailey’s Irish Cream)
6 Large Egg Yolks
1 Whole Egg
2/3 C. Granulated Sugar
1 3/4 C. Heavy Cream
1 3/4 C. Milk
1 Vanilla Bean – Split and Scraped
1 1/2 Tbls Instant Espresso Powder (Hot Cocoa Mix)
2 Tbls Kahlua (Bailey’s Irish Cream)
1/4 Brown or Raw Sugar
Preheat oven to 325°. In a bowl whisk together, yolks, whole egg and granulated sugar. Using a flat (not serrated) knife, split the vanilla bean and scrape out the insides. In a saucepan heat milk, cream vanilla bean and scrapings over medium high heat until it comes just to a boil. Remove bean and stir in powder and liqueur until dissolved. Gradually pour cream mixture in a small stream into egg while whisking. After combined, skim off any froth. Divide among 8 1/2 cup ramekins. Place ramekins in a large roasting or baking pan (at least 2 inches deep). Fill pan with enough hot water to reach the half way point on the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40 minutes in oven until custards are just set (slight jiggle). Remove from pan and cool. Cover and chill cooled custards in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, top with a thin layer of either the brown or the raw sugar. Place under a broiler until sugar is melted and caramelized, about 2 minutes. You may also use a torch to achieve the same caramelized top.
Makes 8 – 1/2 cup servings.
It may seem like these are really complicated, but they aren’t. They take a while because there is the long chill time, but prep and bake time is most likely just over an hour. Probably the one issue will be separating the eggs and needing the oven safe ramekins. The egg is actually easy since you are using the yolk instead of the white so if you get a little of the white in there, it doesn’t mess this up. I just use the shell and work it slowly between the two halves until nearly all of the white is dripped off. I don’t toss the whites out either. Later in the week, it is going in a big pile of scrambled eggs. They are also great to make noodles with.
I use a real vanilla bean because I love the flavor. It is definitely not a requirement. They aren’t cheap and I don’t know how easily available they are, though I can get several beans in a single pack at Costco and I keep them in the freezer until I need them. You do need to be careful when scraping it not to get the “woody” part of the outer coating in with the dark inner bits.
This also has a tendency to want to clump together, so you will want to be sure to mash the clumps against the side of the pan to break them up. They seem to multiply about the time the milk and cream come to up to the boil point.
I did the Bailey’s for the first time because I didn’t have the Kahlua or the espresso powder (used my last on my fudge over the holidays and the store no longer carries it). Honestly, I think I’m in love with the Bailey’s version. The coffee one is awesome, but I think this one bumped it off the top of my favorites list.
The last kind of critical step is making sure you don’t dump the cream mix into the egg too fast or you will end up with a nasty, kinda scrambled egg. It isn’t hard, you just have to pour slowly to allow the temperature of the eggs to warm slowly.
Getting these ready to serve is probably my favorite part, well, aside from eating them, because I get to play with fire. I torch mine. I’ve done the broiler thing and it works, but I really love the way it comes out to have the very top warm and the custard still cold. I don’t think you get that as well with the broiler. I also like brown sugar on mine, though I haven’t tried the raw sugar. You do need to try to keep the layer of sugar as smooth as possible as the higher points tend to get dark fast. I personally love the burnt sugar parts, but it is all about preference.
I will note that the vanilla settles to the bottoms of these, so don’t freak if you see the darker layer on the bottom. That is totally okay because it is completely awesome!