All time drool: Creme Brûlée

It’s a sweet dish also known as Burnt cream, trinity cream, crema catalana, or Cambridge cream. Everyone has their own names to remember it. This is a dessert made up of a rich custard base topped with a layer of caramelized sugar. It’s a creamy dessert that is unrivaled by most desserts.

To enjoy the dish, it should be served chilled. You will need fresh cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract to prepare Crème Brulee. It is mainly prepared with custard and caramel. The custard can be any flavor you like, vanilla or chocolate or anything.

Crème Brulee is often served in ramekins. It’s a dish served with small portions of the dessert individually. There are two ways of preparing crème Brulee. One common format way is to prepare the custard the way it should be. Then put it in a ramekin, which should be placed into a large pan of half filled hot/boiling water for double boiling method. Place it in the oven until the centre is wobbly and edges are set.

Let’s learn how to make custard first. There are many ways of preparing it. Choose a way you feel is easy.

  • Whisk the egg yolks with sugar over the double boiling method, and then slowly mix the sugar in it. Turn off the heat; let it cool down a little so that vanilla can be added into it. After the whole mixture is ready, freeze it. The custard is ready!
  • Temper the egg yolk and sugar mixture with the hot cream. It’s a heat treatment method. For example brief frying of spices in oil or ghee to release their aroma. It’s also called chaunk or tadka in Hindi. Likewise mixing the egg yolk/sugar mixture in the hot cream. Then add the vanilla to it. That gives the custard a perfect taste and doesn’t make it all mixed up.
  • There is also a cold method. Where the egg yolks and sugar whisked together until it reaches the ribbon stage. This means that the mixture should look pale yellow, and when you lift the whisker the batter should fall in a ribbon shape. It should hold its shape for a few minutes. Cold heavy cream is then mixed in that yolk mixture. Mix it thorough and then add the vanilla to it.

The second way is to prepare the whole of it together.

Let’s see how it goes.

Crème Brulee is a sweetened mixture of cream and egg yolks. Which is heated until it becomes thick. Then it is poured in shallow single serving ceramic dish called ramekins and is chilled before serving. It can be refrigerated for 30-45 minutes. It is chilled so that it becomes stable and firm. After poured in ceramic dish sugar is sprinkled on it. That sugar is then heated with the help of hot iron rod for a few seconds. This caramelizes the sugar, thus forming a crispy, thin crust.

Note- sugar which is too shaggy won’t caramelize easily. It will stay uncooked at the top of your Brulee. The best you can use for topping off the crème Brulee is superfine sugar. It’s seen as tiny crystals and it caramelizes fast and easily.

Some people use broiler to heat the sugar but that would uneven the result and also warm up the inside custard. A blowtorch is the best thing to melt the sugar above and give the thin crispy effect, and also creating a nicely brown look.

When you come to thinking- what is the need of heating the sugar and creating the crispy crust?

Well it’s not only the appearance but the sound of it. The sound of snap from a spoon breaking through the crust makes the tongue impatience to taste it by getting all watery. And what’s more better than cold dessert, if you want crème Brulee cold- refrigerate it for about 30-45 minutes before serving as mentioned above. But if refrigerated more than that, then it would soften the crispy crust.

Preparing the crème Brulee would save you the time when you are expecting people at your home. Freeze the custard from before. At time of serving, remove the custard from freezer let it come to room temperature. Sprinkle the sugar and heat it for the crispy crust. The heat will thaw them enough so that crème Brulee would be icy cold, but not frozen.

Crème Brulee comes in many flavors such as chocolate crème Brulee, lavender crème Brulee. Pumpkin and ginger flavor also taste yummy!

Don’t know where to search for the best recipe? Go to this link and you will be serving the best dessert ever!



Passapage Favorites: Panna Cotta

Weird name for a sweet dish, right? Well yes it surely sounds weird but the taste of it is delicious.

It’s the indulgent delight of traditional Italian cuisine. It is an Italian dessert named for cooked cream.

It’s all sweet cream, thickened with gelatin and is prepared in mould. The cream can be aromatized with coffee, vanilla or any other flavor you like. It’s a type of pudding.

The main ingredients to prepare Panna cotta are cream, sugar and gelatin. The purpose of gelatin is to set the mixture and create a custard-like stability. It’s a small Preparation which takes nearly 10 minutes, but to serve it, one would have to wait for at least 4 hours.

Sugar is mixed in warm cream, and then left to dissolve. As mentioned above the cream can be flavored, by infusing spices in it or by adding rum, coffee, vanilla etc. While this cream is prepared, gelatin should be softened in cold liquid and then added to the warm cream mixture. Once added, immediately whisk the mixture until it becomes very smooth in texture. Adding the gelatin to the warm mixture of cream and sugar is what activates the gelatin. The ingredients are warmed just to dissolve properly. When the batter is ready, make sure there are no lumps left in it. If they are left then bring it back to the stove and dissolve the lumps. Don’t let the ready batter boil again.

Pour it in the molds and allow it to set. To make it a little tasty and interesting, you can have the bottom layer of caramel. Before pouring the batter, you can pour caramel into the molds.

Tip- Panna cotta can also be prepared in shot glasses and topped with berries.

What if the Panna cotta is not coming out of the mold? Here’s what you can do- dip the molds (one at a time) in half filled warm water utensil for about 5 seconds. Then invert the mold on a serving plate and carefully remove the mold.

The best thing to use to make Panna cotta is flexible silicone muffin pans. Pour your dessert in it and freeze it. Pop them out on your serving plate and serve. This will take you only half an hour to make the dish. If you don’t want to freeze your dessert then you can serve it in ramekins. This is a small dish for serving an individual part of food.

Garnishing always makes the dish look more appealing. Strawberry, caramel or chocolate sauce can be garnished and served with Panna cotta. And you have a beautiful, tasty and appealing Panna cotta with a rich and silky smooth texture.

How will you know that the recipe of Panna cotta is executed perfectly? You will know it by its stability. But if the dessert wobbles like a little girl who has wore high-heeled shoes, then you should know that gelatin is over used.

A secret to make it perfect- never exceed from 8 grams of gelatin for every 500 grams of liquid.

Well obviously it’s a heavy dish with the cream and everything. But you can make it light by using lighter cream or milk instead of heavy cream. It will alter the taste.

This dessert is a restaurant dessert and also a home cooking dessert. Quickly prepared with easily found ingredients in the kitchen. It’s a gluten-free dessert, as long as your dairy, gelatin and flavoring are gluten free. People who are conscious about their sugar or diet or carbs – can enjoy this dessert. As it can be low- sugar, no-sugar or fruit sugar.

In baking, sugar not only sweetens the cake or cookies but also moisturizes it. Substituting sugar can vary the results of the dessert. But in Panna cotta you can lessen as much sugar you want and you will like it. Honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, and other alternative syrups can be used to sweeten Panna cotta. Using these alternative syrups will help you take a lot less sugar than needed. Real fruit’s sweetness will also taste amazing instead of sugar taste.

For those who are vegetarian- Panna cotta can be vegan as eggs are not used in Panna cotta. For those who ask about gelatin, it’s not vegetarian. Gelatin is the main ingredient which gives Panna cotta its stability. But there are some good substitutes coming in the market.

Some are allergic to dairy products. The gelatin can take care of it as almost any liquid can be used. Cream can be replaced by any of these- almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk. Or you can also supplement by using a non dairy creamer.

One last thing you should know about Panna cotta is that when you are serving the dessert and it separates into different layers of milk and cream, not to worry it’s a common problem. Just don’t panic or be upset, it happens sometimes if the mixture isn’t well whisked or it gets too warm. To avoid it, let the mixture come to room temperature before serving it. Once it is at room temperature, whisk it again and pour it in the serving dish or cups. Whatever you may please!

You can find more delicious recipes here at Epicurious