By Jean Doherty
Crème brûlée, French for “burnt cream,” (in Spanish, “crema catalane,” and in English “Trinity cream”) is a dessert consisting of a rich custard base, topped with a layer of hard caramel. Most people assume that crème brûlée is a French dish, since the name is French. Chances are, crème brûlée is another version of a custard recipe that was passed around during the Middle Ages. It’s almost impossible to trace its exact roots to a specific origin, so the “Battle of the Brûlée” still goes on between French, English, and Spanish adherents.
The only hard part about making this recipe is that it requires you to caramelize the sugar topping just before serving. (I do this directly at your table at Le Patio.) The aim is to get a “hard” finish without warming the cream underneath, and this can be difficult without the right tool.
I suggest you splurge on a blow torch. (I love using the blow torch: I actually think I was a plumber in another life!)
It’s well worth it, because crème brûlée is so easy and delicious, you’re going to want to make it again and again
• 10 egg yolks
• 8 oz. of sugar
• 1 liter of heavy cream
• 1 vanilla pod
• Brown sugar (for “finish”)
Preheat the oven at 205°. Open the vanilla pod, remove the grains out, and put them in the cream. Place on the stovetop, and start heating slowly. “Whiten” the eggs: Mix the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl, beating them like mad until the mixture becomes a “whitish,” light yellow color. Add the boiling vanilla cream, mixing SLOWLY, making sure that the mixture does not become too bubbly. Delicately pour this new mixture into small individual porcelain or terracotta molds. (You should make from six to eight, depending on the size of your dishes) Cook for 1 hour and 15 min; the crème should come out wobbly. Cool well.
Before serving, cover with brown sugar, get the blow torch out, and start caramelizing it. C’mon baby light my fire: You are the chef!
Although born in Dublin, Ireland, chef Jean Doherty spent most of her life in Lyon, France, the gastronomical capital of the world. Together
with Vero, her partner of 25 years, Jean has owned and run multiple restaurants including Fort Lauderdale’s Le Patio.