Today I'm sharing one of my very favorite dessert recipes, Raspberry Creme Brulee. It is everything you hope a dessert will be...decadent, rich and utterly delicious. You're going to want to make this for your next fancy dinner or for your 3:00 meltdown tomorrow afternoon. This should be at the top of your want list, right above the two weeks vacation in Hawaii, $100,000 in twenty dollar bills, and all manner of lifts, fillers, suctions and transplants. If only. Allow me to quote Dr. Gregory House, who quoted a famous group of British Philosophers, "You can't always get what you want!" But I'm here to tell you, you can get what you need, and you need Raspberry Creme Brulee!
Creme brulee is typically made with Grand Marnier, an orange-flavored cognac (liqueur.) I have no problem with the original, it's just that I prefer raspberry flavoring so I use Chambord, which is a raspberry flavored liqueur. Think of the liqueur as an extract, like vanilla extract - yes, it has alcohol in it but then so does vanilla extract...same difference, so don't get your girded loins all in a twist!
If you've never made creme brulee before, not to worry, it's not difficult, just know that you have to allow time for baking and time for chilling - so making it the day before is a good idea but if you don't have that much time, allow for at least 3 to 4 hours for the brulee to chill in the fridge.
Creme brulee is cooked in a bain-marie, a water bath, which allows for steam to fill the oven so the custard stays moist and doesn't crack/split while baking. The ramekins come out looking just perfect!
To make making creme brulee easier, it helps if you have ramekins to bake it in - if not, any oven proof dishes will work. (Target sells ramekins for a couple of bucks each.) And you don't need individual portions, you can bake one large creme brulee but it's much nicer to serve everyone their own little pot of lusciousness. Another thing that is helpful, but certainly not necessary, is a blowtorch. I purchased mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond, along with the little can of fuel (they keep the fuel up at the front register, so be sure to ask about it as the blowtorch does not come with any fuel in it.) If you don't have a blowtorch or don't want to buy one (they are not expensive) then you can put the creme brulee under the broiler, just be sure to watch it closely! When the sugar on top starts to carmelize it can go quickly from wonderful to burned!
Just because it's so pretty, I like to serve my raspberry creme brulee with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh raspberries...it's always better to drive home the flavor, no? This one is worth all five dangs on the Dang Meter - it's dang delicious, dang delectable, dang refreshing, dang smooooooth and dang Good. As always, don't take my word for it, make it yourself and see!
Raspberry Creme Brulee - Adapted from Ina Garten, Food Network
1 extra-large egg
4 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract
1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur (recommended: Chambord)
For garnish: whipped cream and fresh raspberries
Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm, about 3 to 4 hours.
To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch* until the sugar caramelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens. You can serve immediately or keep in the fridge until serving time. Will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator. Garnish with whipped cream and fresh raspberries, if desired.