Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Caramel Apple Creme Brulee

Hurry, hurry! It's Tuesdays with Dorie. Join in while you still can-new members are being accepted only through October 31st. Sharpen your baking skills, save some money and learn to bake like a pro at home with the rest of the gang. Today's offering: Creme Brulee....
Yesterday's science experiment (see yesterday's post) proved to be a boon for today's creme brulee assignment. You see, I don't own a blow torch for making the famously crunchy sugared topping. I don't foresee buying a blowtorch at least until the very sweet but slightly destructive five year old I call "son" is a college freshman-and even then, I'll probably lock it up over holidays and long weekends. It resembles a light saber just enough to be utterly enticing to a young Jedi in training.
But resourcefully blowtorch-less, I discovered that a bit of melted-sugar crunch candy on top of creme brulee makes a lovely and just as crackly substitute as that burnt sugar topping. And of course, my alterations didn't end there. My variation on Dorie's creme brulee has a delicious September twist with cinnamon apples and brown sugar for caramely undertones.
Now, creme brulee is notoriously naughty for you, since the main ingredients are cream and egg yolks. Slashing the fat in this delicate dessert seems pointless, leaving portion control as the only viable option. I made a 1/3 batch for my family of four; two servings to share among four people. I could have been deeply dangerous with a full batch. Wether it be with creme brulee portions, or five year old with blowtorches, I'm playing it safe. For today. I can't promise the same resolve when it comes to next week's Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake....

Money and Time-Saving Tips: Use whatever variety of apple you have on hand. Look for cream to be on sale from now throughout the holidays. I recommend using the microwave to speed along the prep process.
Caramel Apple Creme Brulee
Estimated Cost: $2.00 for two servings
1 apple, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of cinnamon
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place the apple in a small microwaveable dish. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Cover and microwave on high for about two minutes, or until softened. Divide apples between two 6-8 ounce ramekins. Place ramekins on baking sheet; set aside briefly. In a small bowl, heat milk and cream together in the microwave, watching closely, until just boiling, about 1 minute. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk, brown sugar and vanilla together until blended. While still whisking, drizzle in about one fourth of hot cream mixture. Whisk in the remainder of the mixture. Strain the custard into the two ramekins, dividing evenly. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the custard jiggles slightly when tapped on the side of the dish. Cool completely, then refrigerate for at least two hours. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat sugar and water, stirring just until sugar dissolves. Do not stir but watch closely, and continue to cook until sugar becomes a deep caramel color. Pour onto greased cookie sheet. Let cool and break into irregular pieces. Top creme brulee with sugar candy pieces just before serving.
Coming Next:
The Final Item on the Fall Kick Off Menu:
Make-your-own-Caramel Apple Wedges

105 comments:

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Good call on the apples! I think your caramel decorations are much more original than the normal blowtorch. I don't own on. I do have a thing that you heat in the stove top and then use to burn the top of things. It's quite medieval but works...

mikky said...

that is one gorgeous dessert!!! i love creme brulee, but your presentation made it more appealing... :)

Marthe said...

Combining your Crème Brûlée with apples is a luminous idea! Must try that some time. I used star anise and white chocolate in mine.

VeggieGirl said...

LOVE how you incorporated that science experiment into this week's TWD dessert - YUM!! Looks marvelous.

1215656559s20768 said...

I've never made creme brulee at home but need to try it sometime. This looks especially good with the crunchy sugared topping. Looks like something from a fancy restaurant. Great job!

The Blonde Duck said...

I think it looks really cool! It looks like flames shooting from the top. I love creme brulee. Drooollll....

I wrote a new Miss Pickles yesterday, so check it out!

SiHaN said...

i love the candy sugar pieces.. they are 3 dimensional!! cool bengz! and the apples.. you seem to love those don't you!

Alwayzbakin said...

What a great idea. I love your sugary crunchy decorations. The apple addition sounds delicious.

Laura said...

You never cease to amaze me, Prudy. Beautiful! Your comment about the blowtorch/lightsaber thing got me to thinking, though. My eight year old son (and even my 3 yr old daughter) loves to thwap those things around and after I got done torching my custards he did kind of have mishchevious gleam in his eye. And here I thought it was the 41 year old kid in my house I'd have to watch out for. Hmmmmm. Gonna have to find a verrrry safe place for my new tool.

Katherine Aucoin said...

We are creme brulee lovers at our home, especially my new teen. Adding fruit is an awesome new twist as is your topping. Your creme brulee looks top shelf Prudy!

Jamie said...

That sounds amazing...I all about apples at this time of year!

Lori said...

AMAZING!!!!!! Wow, between the apples and cinnamon and the beautiful decorations, you made my mind vibrate. I want some. Right. Now.

Aggie said...

Oooo...cinnamon apples. That sounds so good! And I love seeing your sugar candy again! :)

Rigby said...

You are so creative! I love the addition of the apple and the topping!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

very resourcesful with the caramel, and nice call on the apples!

chocolatechic said...

You are just brilliant.

The DeL Sisters said...

Mmm. Great idea with the apples! It looks very yummy!

Pamela said...

Beautiful presentation, Prudy. Definitely the prettiest I've seen yet. Thankfully, my boys were asleep when the torching began, and now it's locked away safely.

The Food Librarian said...

Love the apples and your caramel beauties! You are always so resourceful and creative.

The Griffis 4 said...

now this is making it hard to diet!

Kirsten said...

I'm not a huge fan of creme brulee, but yours looks like something I might try. Looks like a fancy restaurant created it, nice work!

Darius T. Williams said...

Another perfect score for you!

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

Peggy said...

I am amazed at your topping! I wish I had thought to do that without the torch. But then again, I'm really not a brulee person. I have had it in several fine restaurants and it is always a bit rich for me. Loved your photos! You are an inspiration.

Shandy said...

Prudy, your 2 serving creme brulees are perfect and so yummy looking. I love the apple cinnamon combination and how you presented the little desserts is adorable!

Maria said...

I love your caramel presentation! It looks much better than the blow torch version!

Allie said...

The apples were a great idea and I love your presentation. Your family is going to get spoiled with all your fancy toppings.

Mary Ann said...

Prudy, if only I would have read your post first or figured it out from the salad yesterday then I could have made this another way! I settled for a rewind. You are so smart and creative and I love the way this one looks. Lovely and I am sure delicious!

Melissa said...

Your creme brulee looks awesome! I love the addition of the apples and the candy topping. What a masterpiece!

CB said...

Oh dear lord. Did you say "Caramel Apple Creme Brulee"?? I think you just turned my favorite dessert a notch to make it even more spectacular! I love me some caramel apples. I totally have to try your adaption now! Great job!
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

Kimberly said...

What a great way for all those without blowtorches to have crunchy sugar topping! We all need crunchy sugar topping! And I must say I admire your self control...my family of 2 will be doing away with this recipe all by themselves. But not all at once at least...

Mary Ann said...

Prudy, I don't know if I recommend trying the Shortbread. I tried really hard to be easy on the dough and not mix it too much and let it chill for a day. I don't know if my pieces were too thick or what. The top tray looked great until I switched them from top to bottom. I was disappointed that 1/3 of them were kinda crunchy and didn't look like the pic in the book. But, that being said, I have never attempted making shortbread before, so maybe if you have, yours would turn out better because you know how to work the dough. I also think that my brown sugar was not the freshest, so maybe that affected the texture a little bit. They did leave behind alot of greasemarks on the parchment. My son loved them, praised them as one of the best cookies ever, but will I make them again? Probably not.
Sorry, for writing a book about it, but I get wordy sometimes when answering questions!

Amy said...

O my goodness! What a fun twist on an already amazing dessert!! Love this idea, Prudy!

I normally just put some chocolate chunks at the bottom... LOL! You mean there is life beyond chocolate?? :)

Jess said...

I must make this. My husband adores creme brulee and caramel apples - he won't know what to do with himself.

Teanna said...

You. Are. Brilliant. You never cease to amaze me... apples, melted sugar, crackly creme brulee topping... can I come over?

Marjie said...

Um, yeah, no blowtorch until the boy's about 30. Men and tools are dangerous. Especially fire breathing tools....

But I love this dessert! Well done! (and isn't it fun to have science experiments become useful?)

Anne said...

Yum, I think Apples were the perfect addition. And I know what you mean about the portion control... gotta watch these recipes! Great job!

Candy said...

My mom bought some apples in the mountains yesterday! This will be perfect.

Bellini Valli said...

I am thinking of making a seasonal brulee coming up. Now I am convinced....I need a torch:D

Rachel said...

I love the crunchy sugar topping--what a great idea! I skipped this one because I am blow torch-less, but I think that I might have to try your variation!

Andrea said...

If ever there was a creme brulee I'd want to try it would have to be your caramel apple version, that sounds delicious! I hope you like those chocolate cookies :)

Cathy said...

Prudy, I've been dying to read your post ever since you told us yesterday that "Coming Next" was Caramel Apple Creme Brulee. And you did not disappoint! I love the resourceful sugar method, and I LOVE the addition of the apples. I totally agree with you about the dangers of keeping a blowtorch in the house, but in my case, I am probably as afraid of myself with the blowtorch as I am my children.

Denise said...

I love the crunchy top idea, but if you ever need a torch, I've got one you can use-- call me, I'll run it down! (It's a good thing we don't live right next door or we'd be in trouble with our hubby's)

Did you put water in your pan with the creme brulee when cooking? I thought it was a must when cooking it. It would be good to know I can do it without.

Thanks for all the good stuff! I'm loving it!

Kelly said...

Looks so good!
I love creme brulee, in fact I am using the flavored creme brulee in my coffee right now.
I will definetly make this.
Since you don't have the torch, I wonder if you could put it under the broiler for a few minutes? I think I saw that on some show..??
Oh and what are you talking about .. to sign up by October 31st?
Did I miss something?
I'll sign up for whatever it is..haha

Prudy said...

Kelly:
I'm part of a baking group, Tuesdays with Dorie. We're a 300ish gang of bakers with a weekly assignment, like this creme brulee. It's fun and you learn a ton! You should join!

alexandra's kitchen said...

what a yummy combination. apples and caramel! it makes total sense, but I would never have imagined it for creme brulee!

gigi said...

My DIL and Trav absolutly love Creme Brulee maybe one day I'll be brave enough to make it.

Engineer Baker said...

Caramel apple? Sounds like you're right in the season! Beautiful.

Pam said...

Creme brulee is my all time favorite dessert. My mouth is watering and my tummy is grumbling. It looks amazing Prudy!

Sara said...

Your Caramel Apple Creme Brulee looks amazing! I love your take on this. I'm excited to try it. I am in love with creme brulee. It is a weakness, I admit!

1freshstart said...

My husband bought me a blow torch a few years ago, of course, I think it's because he can find menacing things to do with it when I'm not looking... but you never know.
I love creme brulee, I wanted to find an OBHA friendly recipe for it after seeing everyone make this today... but maybe I should just give in, no?
~Cat

Flourchild said...

GOsh GIrl you are popular 50 comments!! I love your apple brulee..looks very tasty!

Madam Chow said...

I am so impressed that you scaled it back. Great idea with the apples!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

What a creative take on Dorie's recipe!

Jodie said...

Carmel apples and creme brulee? Two things I love. Great idea!

Esi said...

I absolutely love your decoration and apples with creme brulee sounds so amazing!

Kelly said...

Oh that sounds fun...
Where do I sign up?

Prudy said...

Kelly, you can click on the link at the top of my posts-it says Tuesdays with Dorie, or you can just go right over to TuesdayswithDorie.com
I'm excited that you're interested!

pinkstripes said...

Gorgeous!

Natashya said...

You are great. I love you and your creative twists on the themes.
I love the appley goodness and sugar sculptures.

Em said...

Totally inspired - I love it!!!

Nickki said...

Wow. That must've tasted delicious with the addition of apples! I couldn't make creme brulee this week, but I am now having a craving for some ;) I made the brown sugar pecan shortbread instead.

Can't wait for the caramel apple wedges tomorrow :)

Peggy said...

I need advice. .. I need a great dessert that I can make the night before to take to a special dinner party. And it has to be an easy one because I am not as accomplished as some. Any recipes from Dorie come to mind that might fit this criteria? Thanks!

CECIL said...

I want the sugar candy thing on top!! That's just creative. Such beautiful dessert you made.

Debbie said...

you always have the most comments of any blog. good for you.
I love apples...and I loved the way you did up your crunchy caramel.

April said...

You are such a culinary genius! Every week you do something so super creative. I always look forward to seeing what you're going to do.

Cynthia's Blog said...

Way to go Prudy. I have a blow torch. It is still in the package. I am impressed you cut this recipe back. I would have made the whole thing and hidden it from the family and nourished myself at leisure.

n.o.e said...

Oooh, Prudy, that apple variation would have been so popular with my husband. And I could totally have made decorations with my "failed" sugar. Mmm, now I know, but the richness of this dessert will probably prevent me from making it again.

Hey, you're right to be safe. Our friends has their house burn down because their 3 year old found the flame lighter for the grill.

Coby said...

May I add to the chorus?:) Inspired, impressive, I'm in awe:)

Bridgett said...

I love this version with the caramelized sugar shards artfully placed. It looks so professional!

Tammy said...

wow, your brulees look fabulous!!

Christine said...

Prudy, you always amaze me. Wow the caramelized sugar on top is gorgeous and apples were such a wonderful idea. I swear you need your on show on foodnetwork!

The Renouf Family said...

There is something in me that wants a blow torch....but I'm not sure why....scarey thought. haha
Anyway your creme brulee looked delicious and fun to make. I will have to try it sometime with or without my fire hazard torch.

Leslie said...

ahhhh, creme brulee is my favorite!

kittymama said...

Wow, that looks fantastic! I love the caramel apple combo with the creme brulee. I'm not a big CB fan in general, but I might give yours a try.

jenjen said...

Creme brulee is my favorite dessert EVER! Yours looks fantastic! I love the artful topping you put on too! Nice work!

Tanji said...

Oh YUM!!! Grant burned his finger(just a little bit) on one of those torches when he was little. Somehow he figured out how to work it when we were at a friends house. I like the apples. I wonder what cardomom would be like. I have mixed flavor thoughts. :) See you soon friend!

Amanda said...

Wow that looks amazing! You are a very talented cook. I'm excited about starting Tuesdays with Dorie, thanks for the welcome!

TeaLady said...

These look so decadent. I cannot wait to try this one. Yours are inspiring.

Di said...

Wow, that looks fabulous. I'm always looking for new apple recipes. And that's a great work-around for those of us without torches. I'm going to have to try it.

Kelly said...

Thanks!
I signed up..so hopefully it works out.
I haven't done any baking lately and it sounds like fun!!
I am glad I found your blog..love it!

Mike Spoodles said...

Better safe than sorry, I guess, but I have to say that using a blowtorch as a lightsaber is far too tempting--even for a man in his mid twenties. It's one of the honors and privileges of owning a welder.

dharmagirl said...

i love your sense of humor (blow torches and young boys) and your sheer artistry (those caramel shards!)

Heather B said...

oh yuuummm! Caramel Apple sounds absolutely divine! Great job!

hot garlic said...

Okay, now this is getting scary! The salads last post and then I just did caramel apples today... I think we might be twins switched a birth!

Actually, I make creme brulee from time to time and have had GREAT success with healthing it up -to the point I'll never eat a full cream version again! It's just TOO rich for me now! I do a ratio of about 6 parts cream to 4 parts whole milk and it sets like a dream.

LOL about the jedi. I bought my torch on ebay and we've had no incidents as of yet, but you're right -my little jedi is only 1 so maybe I better keep it under lock and key once he turns two next month!

Lisa said...

You are just making me crave sweets!

Liz said...

Okay, from now on I'm going to need you to post your TWD recipes a few days early so I can steal your ideas. Capice? I made cinnamon creme brulee but it would have been even more phenomenal with apples. I love the sugar art, too!

Rhiani said...

This is beautiful! I love this interpretation of creme brulee and like many of the other posters I think the sugar art on top is more attractive than the traditional torched sugar layer.

jessbcuz said...

now this is why I can't visit too often... it's time for bed and now I'm hungry again... love the variation on the base recipe... and the use of the crunchy candy on top in lieu of the torch... bravo... again!

natalia said...

Ciao ! Nice idea to use the caramel decoration ! I skipped the whole thing and made a rewind ...

Grace said...

i haven't had creme brulee before, but i want my first taste of it to be exactly like this--yum!

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

You are always so creative and this is no exception. Love the edible artwork. Young Jedi you have. Dangerous that is.

kim said...

man! you are a baking genius :) this looks awesome! who needs a torch! :) (well, they are fun... but definitely not safe!!) love the flavors you used & your pics!

bakingwiththeboys said...

That sounds so good. too creative. I skipped the blow torch as well and since I have a 4 yr old jedi-in-training it was probably a good thing.

MK and Co. said...

Prudy! You're so popular! This dessert lloked fabulous and fancy! You're a smart girl to opt out for the blow torch. I've seen your son with a light saber!

Lael said...

you have such a cute blog! Thank you so much for commenting on mine, so that I could find yours. As a poor college student, I'm all for pinchin' the pennies.
I just joined Tuesdays with Dorie and am very excited to be part of it This creme brulee looks/sounds delicious!

Satisfying my Sweet Tooth said...

LOVE creme brule and caramel apples. Bet this was amazing! I do have a torch and use it fairly often, but I love your beautiful designs!

Tracey said...

Oh goodness, I love caramel apples! I've never had creme brulee but I can definitely see myself trying this variation! Great work!

Debinhawaii said...

That is some fancy caramel on top of that brulee--it lookds beautiful!

Rebecca said...

What a fun take on creme brulée! Anything caramel-apple makes me smile.

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Apple and creme brulee - great idea! Love your sugar crackles too!

Christine said...

Just found your blog. Love it!

And that's it to accomplish this wonderful dessert? Gotta definitely make it! :-)

Rosie said...

Crème Brûlée with apples & caramel a match made in heaven mmmmm

Rosie x

LyB said...

Oh, that is fabulous! It looks gorgeous and delicious!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

This is a lovely dish - you have solved the problem of how to do the toffee without a torch. Now I can definitely try Creme Brulee.

Jaime said...

i love how you made those cool caramelized sugar shapes instead of pouring it over the custard! as usual, i love what you did w/this recipe.