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One of my favorite things to order out for dessert... even
if I feel like I have no room left has to be the creme
brulee. This is like a cloud of custard with a caramelized
hard shell of sugar on top normally done with a mini torch.
If it is done perfectly it won't be a melty mess but a
chilled creme custard on bottom with the warm sugar layer
to crack through on top and a wonderful contrast of
temperatures and textures all in a single bite. I never get
why something so simple is always expensive on the menu?

No two are ever really alike and there are so many varieties
I like trying but but my favorite is still just the classic
vanilla. So a special classic vanilla CREME BRULEE recipe
it is today. It is a little tedious but once you get the
hang of it you will find yourself making it again and again.
And to let you in on a little secret, I still don't have one
of those convenient mini torches to caramelize yet but the
broiler works just fine.

Enjoy!
Marzee



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RECIPE: CLASSIC VANILLA CREME BRULEE

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INGREDIENTS:
2 cups heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. good vanilla extract
8 tsp. fine raw sugar or granulated sugar for
caramelizing

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Keep a pot of hot water
nearby. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream
and sugar and cook, stirring frequently until steam
rises, approx. 4-5 minutes. In a bowl, beat egg yolks
and vanilla until blended. Gradually pout hot cream into
yolks, stirring constantly. Strain mixture through a
fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, divide among four 7-ounce
ramekins. Line a 3" deep baking pan with a clean kitchen
towel, place ramekins in pan, and add hot water to fill
pan halfway up the side of the ramekins. Cover loosely
with foil. Bake until set, 30-35 minutes, until the
centers of the custards shake gently when the pan is
shifted. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the
ramekins to cool slightly. Remove the ramekins from the
pan, cool to room temperature, then chill thoroughly 3
hours or overnight. Just before serving, sprinkle the
custards with 2 tsp. Sugar and caramelize the topping
with a kitchen torch, or place the ramekins under a
broiler, 2-3 inches from the heat source for 3-4 minutes.

Yield: 4 Servings
Category: Desserts



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VANILLA TIPS AND TRIVIA:

* Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing vanilla
to the United States in the late 1700s. While serving as
Ambassador to King Louis XVI of France, he became familiar
with vanilla beans, and brought 200 vanilla beans back
with him when he returned to the United States.

* The United States consumption of vanilla beans is
approximately 1,200 tons per year!

* Vanilla beans are hand-pollinated, on family plantations.
The entire vanilla cultivation process, from planting to
market, can take from five to six years!

* A teaspoon or so of vanilla in Italian tomato sauces
or Mexican chili helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes!

* In baking, cream the vanilla with the shortening or
butter portion of the ingredients. The fat encapsulates
the vanilla, preventing it from volatilizing in the baking
process.

* Vanilla extract is used by veteran fishermen to mask
the smell of their hands so the fish won't detect them

* A vanilla bean under your car seat gives a fresh aroma
and helps eliminate musty odors.

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