Thursday, February 16, 2012

French Friday with Dorie: Catching up on Creme Brulee

I’m quite proud of myself.  Even with my hectic life, which seems to get more hurried with more seemingly  important things as the years march on, I’ve only missed 3 FFwD experiences.  Since this is one of those really crazy weeks where I do not have time to shop or to think carefully about a new-to-me recipe, I’ve decided to catch up on a recipe that I’m really sorry to have missed.  Note to self: By catching up on this recipe, but by missing today’s...I’ve still missed out on 3 recipes!

Creme Brulee has always been a family favorite.  For Christmas several years ago, we gave our kids and extended family members  all-the-things-you-need-to-make-Creme-Brulee gift boxes.  There were pretty ramekins, torches, and recipe books for everyone.  We all enjoyed Creme Brulee in all its varieties and flavors.

The favorite part of this dessert making was the torching, or caramelizing, of the sugar to produce the crackling top.  We’ve used many kinds of sugars which all work well and give different flavors or intensities of flavors.   For Dorie’s recipe we are asked to use brown sugar or Brownulated sugar, which is a granulated brown sugar that works the same as the cheaper, more common brown sugar.  At our house, we’ve also used methods similar to Dorie’s Bonne Idee where fruit or berries are used as part of the custard or to top this dessert.  All are fabulous. 

But, I’ve never used jam or jelly on my ramekin bottom, and the biggest, newest idea, is to bake these custards at only 200^ for an hour without a water bath.  I’ve just placed my Creme Brulee’s into the oven and I’m very interested to see how they turn out using Dorie’s new-to-me method.  If it works, which coming from Dorie, I expect that it will, my Creme Brulee baking will have just become soooooo much easier.

I love the new methods from Dorie, and  the tips I get for you all which make all this FFwD experience so great.
Dorie instructs us to bake the brulees for 50-60 minutes at 200^.  After checking mine at 50 minutes they are nowhere near set, or done.  I set the timer for an additional 15 minutes...same thing happened when I again checked...reset the timer for an additional 15 minutes...same thing so at 1 ½ hours baking time,  I got a little smarter and decided you check your write-ups and found that several of you had the same problem back in December when you all posted this experience.  And I recalled talking to my Frolicking Night Owl Daughter when we went to her house to taste her brulees...she made a couple of varieties...and she had also commented that her Dorie brulees had not set well.

So, I saw where a couple of you turned up the oven temp to 250^...I did that and have reset the timer for an additional 15 minutes....I’m trying to be patient....this is just a custard and it will set at some point, right???

OK...Finally...after 1 hour and 45+ minutes and an upward temperature adjustment, my Creme Brulee has finished baking.  After cooling I will refrigerate them for several hours.  Hubby is working out of town today and will be back late...I hope to have a lovely, comforting dessert waiting for him.  And I might let him be the torch man, which is giving up a lot as it is the most fun part of this dessert...but after a long day on the road it will be a treat for him.

Thanks to my cyber all saved my day or at least this dessert.

Hope you all have a fun Presidents’ Day weekend!

Note to Self:  This brulee is very sweet and the jam on the bottom adds too much extra sweetness.  The jam becomes liquid during baking and creates extra moisture that this recipe does not need--hampers the set up process, and any that makes its way to the top melts the topping sugar before the torch can caramelize it.  A drier fresh fruit would be a better choice.   The whole idea is lovely and otherwise this is an elegant dessert.

In summary I did not like the jam on the bottom and the temperature was too low.  But, the brulees did not need a water bath and that was a much easier way to bake these I"m happy to have learned something new.


  1. Back when I used to order desserts at restaurants, creme brulee would be favorite treat. It is nice to be able to make things like this at home - and simpler is a bonus, right?
    Have a great weekend.

  2. Wonderful idea, Kris - I should have done the same thing. I have Jury duty this week & John's out of town, so I haven't been very motivated, or inspired...we'll have to whip up something great this weekend.

    I also love your gift idea. Have a great weekend!

  3. Nice post, and congrats for having kept up to the extend that you have. That is quite an accomplishment.

    For me, the most interesting part of this recipe was how it was cooked and I would like to tinker with Dorie's method a bit and see if I can get it to work with my oven. I always find the water bath technique to be a big messy hassle and I really liked that Dorie's recipe didn't call for one. Next time I will try turning the temps up just a bit and allowing for more time to see if I can ditch the water bath method.

  4. Your creme brulee looks tasty! And, congrats for only missing three weeks. I've missed way more!

  5. I didn't make this one because of fear that if I could make it myself I would eat nothing else. Like when chimps discover they can get their food by pushing the lever they get obsessed with lever pushing. Looks great!

  6. The creme brulee is still in my catch up list. I spied a really nifty kit that included the blowtorch and four shallow dishes at Bed Bath and Beyond. I should spring up for that and cross another recipe off my pending items list. ;-)

  7. Oh, you MUST let him torch a few, Kris! It is definitely something the guys enjoy although my daughter and I enjoyed it once we got the hang of it. I'm glad it turned out for you even though it took longer than you expected. Mmm...seeing yours makes me want to make this again and try the fruit on the bottom this time.

  8. Really lovely! I'm sure your husband will enjoy these! I didn't get to make the creme brulee either and would love to catch up with them! Happy Friday, Kris!

  9. These were good but I had the same issues with them setting. Not my favorite creme brulee recipe but I still learned lots from making them.

  10. I also thought these were too sweet, and didn't really need all that extra sweetness. I think it is fabulous that you have only missed 3 French Fridays, I'm still trying to catch up all the recipes I've missed. Some of my girlfriends have bought the book and we are going to do a dinner party with some of the missed recipes. Should be fun! Oh, I also thought it was nice without the water bath, but seemed to take forever.

  11. Mine had to bake extra without the water bath too. My favorite part was the torched top and I wasn't blown away by the jam in the bottom. Glad you caught up on this one, though you still have to try the mussels. They were so delicious. Have a great week!

  12. Great photos! I love your Christmas gift idea - it must have been so much fun to sample everyone's versions.

    I saw that people had been having trouble with the temperature before I made mine, which saved me some time. As I recall, my tasters liked it but thought it was a little too sweet, too.