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.
The Final Item on the Fall Kick Off Menu:
Make-your-own-Caramel Apple Wedges