Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Frenchified With Maple Crème Brûlée

Maybe, just maybe if you ever thought this Bengali could not do any French cuisine, I am going to dispel that stereotype today. Like the French, we Bengalis think, talk and eat a lot of food. Like the French, food is a ritual for us, an art. And when I say food is an establishment for both the Bengalis and the French, I am not in the least bit exaggerating.

My knowledge of the French language starts and ends with oui, and maybe an occasional bonjour and merci since I have moved to Canada. And my initiation to gourmet French cooking is only as recent as last year -- thanks to the double dose of Julie and Julia and French Food At Home hosted by Laura Calder. I love watching her on Food Network every morning. Even more, I love her kitchen and her chic wrap around dresses! 128_59ccb46b6eef823ef71e80007d28b8eeOkay, I have a vague feeling I am digressing.  So I will move back to my attempt of making Crème Brûlée (French for “burnt cream”), an easy French dessert I once saw Laura Calder make. Her recipe had sugar, I have substituted it with maple syrup. Which we find here in abundance.
IMG_7357I started by having all the ingredients and measurements for the Maple Crème Brûlée (pronounced krehm broo-lay) right -

2 cups of heavy cream
Half cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
2 egg yolks
2 eggs 

Start by heating the heavy cream and maple syrup in a saucepan. I stopped just before boiling and removed from the heat. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, eggs and the vanilla extract. Slowly start adding the cream-syrup mixture, stirring continuously. Adding little by little of the hot cream mixture is the way to go since we do not want to scramble the eggs.
IMG_7370 IMG_7366 IMG_7371Transfer the mixture onto individual ramekins (or custard cups) – I used all four for this quantity of cream and eggs. Place the ramekins in a baking dish and pour enough water to reach halfway of the ramekins. Water baths are mainly used for baking, as this technique helps to cook evenly and prevents cracking.
IMG_7376 IMG_7378Preheat oven to 350°F and bake till the liquid mixture sets around the edges but jiggly at the center. This should take about 40-45 minutes.
IMG_7381I cooled them to a room temperature (in the same water bath), and then chilled them.
IMG_7382Just before serving, I sprinkled them with some sugar (plain white) and put them in the broiler for about two minutes or less to melt all that sugar. But do keep an eye on it, don't leave it in. Else you might just end up getting a crisp, charcoal topping on your crème. The broiler worked for me since I do not have a blowtorch. This way I got the creamy custard base and the top crust of caramel.
IMG_7387 IMG_7388Elegant and easy. Looks like I will just go ahead and pat my back when no one is looking!
IMG_7396Bon Appétit. Just the way Julia “Meryl” Child says it!

9 comments:

Ushnish Ghosh said...

Dear Pree
darun hoechhe...jyamon recipe tyamon photography,,,really enjoyed reading

Saswati said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saswati said...

hey hi Pree!!iam falling in love with your style of writing...gr8 pics,delicious dessert,loved the maple syrup bottle too:)

The knife said...

Bengalis and the French go a long way. Ask Monsieur Ray. Read a lot about French cooking and Wodehouse and later in Peter Mayle. Julia and Julia of course. But most conti food here tends to be what passes of as 'Italian'. Would love to explore the most.

We had once ordered Creme Brulee at Mezzo Mezzo, the fancy conti place at the Mariott here. It was salty and not sweet at all. We were too overwhelmed to say anything.

Your post is sorely tempting me to buy an oven

PreeOccupied said...

@Ushnish Kaku, thank you! This was made with a lot of trepidation, since it was my first time!

@Saswati, I love Maple Syrup too. I thank Canada for introducing me to this great taste of sweetness.

@The Knife, did they by any chance used salt instead of sugar for caramelization? Psssst.

The knife said...

Do you watch FRIENDS. Remember the episode where Rachel mixed up the recipe of English Truffle and Sheppherd's pie?

By the way I feel quite protective about this particular creme brulee as I happened to have heard of its getting baked live at another end of the world :)

PreeOccupied said...

@Knife, I do watch Friends, but don't remember the Rachael episode. I thought all the cooking and baking was done by Monica. But trust blondie Rachael do something like that!

Btw, P said my Crème Brûlée" was better than what they served at his office Christmas banquet! Yay!!!

The knife said...

Well the dish ended up with beef, ladies fingers, custard and jelly.

Everyone was looking for ways to avoid it while Joey mopped it up. A Thanksgiving episode.

Hope you take advantage of P in send in a hefty bill

The knife said...

Well the dish ended up with beef, ladies fingers, custard and jelly.

Everyone was looking for ways to avoid it while Joey mopped it up. A Thanksgiving episode.

Hope you take advantage of P in send in a hefty bill