Crème Brûlée (Kitchen Poems by Tammy Mouré)
Sometimes the days are gray
The sun takes her warmth and goes away.
The tide turns not our way
And forces we can’t control hold sway.
The table no cloth shows.
Where happy chatter lived silence grows.
When the meal comes and goes
But the nourishment no taste bestows.
These sad days pass and go away
And it’s not always Crème Brûlée.
So this little cup of deliciousness isn’t quite crème brûlée. It is related much more closely to its cousin crema catalana. In truth I was going to make an orange roulade and this was to be the pastry cream that was rolled inside. I made two attempts at making an oranged flavored spanish style sponge cake and failed miserably both times. Well, 3 strikes and you’re out, but I settled for 2. Now, what to do with this wonderful pastry cream? I decided that I would topped it with sugar and broil it (I wish I had a kitchen torch) and see what happens. It turned out beautifully. The crispy sugar coat made it more elegant and fun to eat. It was a very nice dessert indeed, so light and creamy, and saved me from complete failure. I do hope you try it. It was super easy to make and delightful to eat.
Not Quite Crème Brûlée
- 2 1/4 cups milk
- 5 tbsp sugar plus 8 tsp more for broiled topping
- Zest of 1 orange in large strips optional
- A few drops of vanilla or orange extract if NOT using zest
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- Reserve 3 tablespoons of milk. Pour the remaining milk into a pan.
- Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and the orange zest or extract if using, and bring to just a boil.
- Meanwhile beat egg yolks with the remaining sugar, cornstarch and flour, and remaining 3 tablespoons of milk in a bowl.
- Remove 1/2 a cup of hot milk from the pan and mix quickly with the egg mixture. Remove orange zest strips if using. Then add the egg mixture back into the pan with the hot milk and cook stirring continuously over low heat until the mixture is thickened and smooth about 5 minutes. Pour into 4 (4oz) ramekins and cool in the refrigerator until chilled about an hour.
- Remove ramekins from the refrigerator and top with 2 teaspoons of sugar each.
- Place under broiler about 4" from the top and broil until deep dark golden brown.