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Apr 27, 2010 06:49 PM

Creme Brulee

I need to make Creme Brulee for a dinner Sat night - how far in advance can I make it? BTW, if anyone has a good recipe for a stirred creme I'l love it (mine is marginal) I am filling chocolate boxes so it cannot be baked. Thanks!

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  1. Day before should be fine, except obviously you're going to brulé the sugar right before serving.
    I'm not sure what a stirred creme is, is it a stirred (cooked stove top) creme brulée, as in not baked? If so, here's a recipe:

    Crema Catalana

    2 cups whole milk
    1 cinnamon stick, optional
    1 lemon rind, optional or use orange rind or not
    1 tsp pure vanilla extract, or more to taste
    4 egg yolks
    1 tbsp cornstarch
    3/4 cup sugar

    In a pot, bring milk, cinnamon stick, and lemon rind to a boil. Simmer for several minutes then strain and discard cinnamon stick and lemon rind.
    In bowl, whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar together.
    Add small amount of hot milk mixture in with egg mixture and whisk to combine. Add tempered egg mixture to milk mixture on stove and cook--stirring continuously--until thickened.
    Stir in vanilla. Pour into ramekins and chill for a minimum of four hours.
    Just before serving brulé as per creme brulée.

    You can make this with heavy cream (35% butterfat) instead of milk and, if so, add an extra egg yolk and skip the cornstarch.


    1 Reply
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Thanks for the recipe it's perfect. Story is this method (stove top) you can cool enough to scoop into the boxes and not melt them before chilling.

    2. How are you going to brulee the top when the custard is inside a chocolate box? Isn't it going to melt?

      7 Replies
      1. re: Nyleve

        I'll use a small hand held torch and just be careful not to get too close to the edges.

        1. re: reets

          Have you actually done this before? I can't imagine how the chocolate won't melt. The melted sugar gets so hot that it will almost certainly radiate out toward the edges. When you consider that chocolate melts at body temperature, I just don't see this working. I don't want to be a party pooper here - and maybe I'm wrong - but if you're planning this for a special dinner party, I suggest you do a trial run first.

          The other possibility would be to sprinkle the top of the custard with finely chopped caramelized sugar instead. You'll get a similar flavour pairing, but without the potentially ruined container. I know it's not exactly the same, but if you're set on this idea, it's a compromise.

          1. re: Nyleve

            "sprinkle the top of the custard with finely chopped caramelized sugar instead."
            Excellent idea.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              But then it's just custard with sugar on top. I don't see the point of the chocolate boxes if you really want creme brulee. If you want a nice custard in the boxes, I'd make a ginger or a lemon mousse, instead.

              1. re: Ideefixed

                But it's caramelized sugar, nothing wrong with that. A nice crackle of caramelized sugar atop the creme and chocolate is a very nice combo, imo. The OP is not going to be able to exactly reproduce creme brulée given the style of presentation he/she wants to attain, as there will very well be a chocolate melting issue, but sometimes you have to modify the technique a bit to get the results you want.

                Anyway, I hope the OP gets the results desired and posts the outcome.

          2. re: reets

            The only way I can imagine the chocolate not melting is verrrrry fast and careful use of a brulee iron...

            1. re: Whats_For_Dinner

              Seriously - try to imagine this working. If the chocolate container were, for example, 8-inches in diameter - maybe you could stay far enough away from it to keep it from melting while you torched the sugar. And even then, you would have to allow a wide margin of un-melted sugar to keep the heat away from the edges. I just don't see it.

              Ok, maybe if you could prepare this in an extreme sub-zero environment - like the dark side of the moon. Maybe - maybe it might work. But then the custard would be frozen solid too so, nah I don't think so.

        2. Here's my recipe:

          I generally make it up to two days in advance, covered with saran in the fridge. It's pretty easy to make, just be mindful of the places you can screw up - 1) Curdling the custard. 2) Burning the sugar. Both are easily solved. If you curdle the custard, you can cheat it into the blender. And when you're melting the sugar, brush the flame across the sugar rapidly so as to melt the sugar, not set it on fire.

          1. Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vol. 1 gives a recipe for a stove top creme brulee, which is just a variation of creme anglaise. (I'd use real vanilla beans to make it extra special.) You can do that and make the caramel crust right before serving. I'm not sure how long you can keep it, but I wouldn't go for more than three days.

            1. Maybe for the caramel top, you can sprinkle an even layer of sugar onto parchment paper, blowtorch that into a small caramel puddle, trim to size if needed, and carefully lift it off with a small spatula and place it onto the boxed custard?

              Or heck, just make caramel as usual on the stovetop and drizzle threads of it onto parchment into nice swirly shapes and use it to garnish the custard, or drizzle the caramel directly onto the custard if your aim is good.

              2 Replies
              1. re: stilton

                This is good advise. I have done this on a stainless table. I don't know about the parchment thing. Seems like it might create problems. Then again, I might be wrong.

                1. re: stilton

                  Drizzle might work well. I think flaming parchment paper would result in a minor kitchen fire.