My sister Gabi was my guest for two days this week. When I asked her last weekend, what type of restaurant she wanted to go to in Paris, she answered : "I don't care, as long as there is Crème Brulée on the Menu...."
So I started researching in one of my 23 Paris restaurant guides about where we could possibly have a great Crème Brulée in Paris, then I thought : Wait a moment ! What am I doing here ? I am getting trained to become a chef, and want to run my own bistrot one day, and I don't even know yet how to do a Crème Brulée !!!. Shame ! This had to change.....
I took it as a challenge to convince the most experienced Crème Brulée connoisseur I know, that I could make it as good as any French restaurant. And so I asked our Pastry chef Thierry on Monday after the pastry class for a good recipe. And I added my own twists.
Ideally the custard is baked the day before, so everything can set and cool in the fridge. Then the sugar layer is caramelized just before serving.
For 4 portions (but not necessarily enough for 4 persons....)
100g egg yolks (approximately 5 yolks, but weighing is safer)
500g liquid cream (33% fat)
1 vanilla bean and other spices to perfume
mix of white and brown sugar for the top layer
preheat oven at 95°C
First mix milk and cream in a saucepan. I added a couple of spices and aromas to this mix (split vanilla bean, star anis, lemon and orange peel, cinnamon, fleur d'oranger aroma), and let it infuse into the cream-milk mix at very low heat during 2 hours.
Beat the sugar and the yolks together, the sugar should be dissolved.
Bring the cream and the milk to boil, pour it over the yolks, and mix quickly. Strain through a fine meshed sieve (ideally a chinois). This is very important to achieve a smooth consistency and the velvet aspect.
Distribute into 4 ramequins and put 45 minutes at 95°C in the oven. No bain-marie (waterbath) needed !
Keep in the fridge over night.
Then to prepare one of life's greatest pleasures, "cracking creme brulee with a spoon", according to "Amelie" one of my favorite movies :
Just before serving sprinkle white-brown sugar mix on the Creme,
and caramelize with a blowtorch. This requires some experimenting....
I consider the challenge was successful. When I got home from school Wednesday, I found an empty ramequin next to my guest's bed. She must have had it for breakfast....
P.S. This will be on my future bistrot's menu !