Saturday, January 3, 2015

Egg nog creme brûlée with separate sugar crusts

For the last month I've had massive cravings for eggnog.  It's Christmas time and completely understandable- except I've never actually tried eggnog before! I googled some recipes and wasn't thrilled with what was in homemade eggnog. They irked me and made my nose wrinkle but my absolute favorite winter flavor combination is vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  That's something I can get on board with.  I again hit up my google machine and came across this recipe for eggnog creme brûlée:

http://www.chow.com/recipes/10785-eggnog-creme-brulee

I made it exactly as written with a few small changes. I doubled the nutmeg, added 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon into the simmering cream/milk/eggnog mixture. Spoiler: It was delicious!!! 

And because I don't trust my broiler to broil anything evenly I had to come up with a plan for the absolutely necessary sugar crust. 

I figured I'd try and make the crusts separately and just set them on the chilled custard. Surprisingly- it worked. These would be a great addition to stick into creme brûlée ice cream or cupcakes too.  

So here's how I did it. 

While the creme brûlée was cooling I searched my cupboards until I found a glass whose bottom was slightly smaller than my 3.5 oz foil custard cups.
Then I took squares of heavy duty tin foil and buttered them using a paper towel and room temperature butter.
I inverted them onto the glass bottom, butter side down and formed the tin foil around the glass.

Side note: I made some with the shiny side buttered and others with the matte side buttered. It made no difference.

Remove the foil cup from the glass and pop it into a casserole for easy transporting. 
Add some sugar (I used 1 tablespoon per cup) and shake the whole pan to level out the sugar.  If you don't shake it you will have mounds of raw granulated sugar with carmelized sugar over it and burnt sugar around the edges- go ahead, ask me how I learned that...

Then pop them under a broil and watch carefully. 
Eventually then will all be melted and beginning to darken. Pull them out and let them cool in the pan for a few minutes. Once mine were set up and still hot, I moved them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once ready to use, slowly peel back the foil, pop them out, and set them atop your perfectly cooked and cooled creme brûlée.
Worked like a charm and so SO delicious.


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