June 21, 2007

creme brulee

Another popular sweet and creamy dessert that's a delight to eat. I guess I may simply describe it as an elegant French version of the favorite Filipino "leche flan" or caramel flan. Cracking the caramelized sugar topping is the fun part of eating creme brulee. Some recipes ask for a special creme brulee sugar, but regular granulated sugar may be used. Researching more about it, I found a recipe which even suggested toasting the sugar in the oven then processing it until finer for faster and easier caramelizing. The smooth custard may be flavored with lemon, vanilla, espresso, ginger, but there's always room for some creativity when it comes to flavors. I've also had it with fresh fruit like pitted black cherries. This is a lovely dessert individually served in nice little ovenproof ramekins. The custard ingredients may vary, but consist mainly of eggs, heavy cream, sugar and flavoring. The custard filled ramekins are baked bain marie or in a pan of water. I also bake leche flans this way instead of the usual steamed method. After baking, let the creme brulees set and cool to room temperature before refrigerating. It's important for them to be well chilled and ready for the caramelized topping just before serving. Sprinkle with sugar and use a mini torch to caramelize the sugar. It must be served immediately to fully enjoy the crackly burnt topping.

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