Monday, January 4, 2010

Creme Brulicious

I got a Creme Brulee set for Christmas. Oh joy. For my graduation my man surprised me by taking me to Harry's Uptown for dinner...the swankiest joint in town, and a place I'd been longing to go for quite some time. We got all dolled up and everything. When we got there they took us back to this cute little secluded booth- perfect! And we didn't even have a reservation. After an amazing meal, we ordered Creme Brulee with Strawberries in a white balsamic vinegar reduction. It was incredible. The perfect creaminess of the cream, the slight crisp of the sugar crust, the juicy sweetness of the strawberries contrasted with the rich tartness of the vinegar. To die for. Ever since I have wanted a butane torch and some white balsamic vinegar to try my hand at my own Harry's Creme Brulee. Last week I got both of them! The results- to die for!

Creme Brulee with Strawberries in a White Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Your favorite Creme Brulee recipe. I used the pioneer woman's:

Serves 6

1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I used extract)
10 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar, plus 6 tbs superfine sugar

Preheat oven to 325 F. Pour the cream into a saucepan over med-low heat. Add the vanilla bean or extract. Bring almost to a boil, then turn off heat.
Place the egg yolks in a large bowl, add 3/4 cups sugar, and whisk until very light yellow in color, 3-4 minutes. If using vanilla bean, filter the cream. To temper the egg mixture, very slowly drizzle one cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking. Continue with the rest of the cream. Place 6 ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and ladle in the custard until the ramekins are 3/4 full. Place the pan in the oven, then pour water into the baking sheet until it reaches half way up the ramekins. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the custard is set but not brown. Watch carefully to avoid browning. Remove the ramekins from the pan and allow to cool. Refrigerate the custards, covered, for at least two hours or overnight. When you're ready to serve, sprinkle the top of each custard generously with superfine sugar. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar to a crisp, working quickly to avoid cooking the custard below. Serve immediately.

White Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

1/4 cup of white balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup of sugar

Mix sugar and vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for a few minutes, cooking down the vinegar until it reaches a syrupy consistency.

Caution: don't cook too long or you will end up with an extremely sticky candy-like substance instead of syrup. Taste your syrup to make sure you've cooked it down enough. You should still be able to taste the vinegar, but it shouldn't have as sharp a bite- it should be sweet. Balsamic vinegar has such a rich, deep flavor. When you reduce it, you loose some of the overwhelming vinegar and that rich flavor really shines through.Yum.

Slice fresh strawberries (if they aren't quite ripe and sweet, sprinkle with a little bit of sugar)

Arrange sliced strawberries on top of each ramekin of Creme Brulee, then drizzle generously with White Balsamic syrup.



  1. You should check out these food-lover blogs written by a gal I went to college with.

    Food blog:

    General blog with many food and baby posts :)

    To make it even sweeter, she was also an English major! :)

  2. Well, Emily-- It looks as if you had a delicious Christmas. It is so weird...b/c Kyle and I were going to make creme brulee tonight--but, we were out of heavy cream. :( Then, I opened your blog, and I am glad I waited, because now I can try this recipe!!!

    It'll be good too, because all I have been using my butane lighter for lately, is lighting candles ;)

  3. i love creme brulee....have not yet had with the the vinegar reduction (though have had strawberry something with the reduction so this wouold be even better). Mum's giving me her old ramekins next time we visit; says she never uses them. what i want to know is, can the crusty part be made sans butane torch?

  4. Well, I have heard of people using the broiler. My broiler is definitely not reliable enough, but you could give it a shot! Just a warning though, I have heard it can ruin the integrity of the custard.