Salted Caramel Creme Brulé: much better than a box of chocolates!

Valentine’s Day, a completely overhyped commercialized holiday that forces the public to buy flowers, overpriced cards, and cheesy heart-shaped boxes of cheap chocolate.  Far too many people fall into the trap of meaningless gifts to try to display their affection, forgetting that the best way to show someone who you love is from the heart.  To do this, I would recommend the path through the stomach, it has worked for myself and so many others.  In this recipe I deliver the “one-two punch” of the classic French vanilla custard topped with a window pane of sugar and a foundation of rich caramel sauce, better known as Creme Brulé.

Ingredients:

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp fleur de sel (salt)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Creme Brulé:
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Method:
Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Caramel Sauce:
In a medium sauce pan, place sugar evenly on the bottom and heat on medium high while whisking.  The sugar will clump together, but will eventually liquify.  Once the sugar has melted, begin to temp and cook to 150 degrees.  Remove from heat and add butter.  Be careful as you add the butter because the caramel will bubble up.  After the butter is melted stir in salt, vanilla and heavy cream. Set aside to cool completely.

Sugar

cooking caramel

Custard:
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and half the sugar until the mixture becomes light yellow in color. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds. In a medium sauce pan, heat cream with vanilla bean and seeds until the cream comes to a boil, immediately remove from heat.  Add the cream slowly to the egg mixture while whisking constantly to temper the eggs.  If you add the cream too fast the eggs will scramble, and we’re not making breakfast here.

Cream to Eggs

Creme Brulé:
In 6 Creme Brulé ramekins pour enough caramel sauce to cover the bottom. Layer the custard over the caramel sauce by slowly pouring it over the back of the spoon, using the technique similar to layering a mixed drink.  Place ramekins in a baking dish and fill the baking dish with boiling water to the half way mark of the ramekins.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the custard sets.  Place  in refrigerator until completely cooled.  Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top of the custard and brulé with a torch.

pouring caramel

Pour over spoonfinal product close