Amaretto Creme Brûlée

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Creme Brûlée, translated to “burnt cream” is a delicious, luxurious tasting baked dessert that has a rich creamy baked custard topped with a thin layer of contrasting hard, caramelized sugar. The fun part is the initial cracking of the hardened sugar, and then scooping it up with a spoonful of the cool custard. It’s a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. As luxurious as this dessert is, it is a very easy recipe to make. The traditional flavor is vanilla, but really, you can make all kinds of flavored creme brûlée. Instead of just using vanilla, you can do a chocolate version, a pistachio version, coffee…I could go on and on. Fresh berries pair wonderfully with this dessert too. Whether you put the berries at the bottom of the ramekins before pouring in the custard to be baked, or using berries as a garnish on top, they add another layer of flavor and color to your dessert. You can also change up the flavorings by adding a little flavored liquor to the custard instead of, or in addition to, the vanilla flavor of your custard. Some examples are raspberry liquor, orange liquor, or in my version today, almond liquor. I recommend Amaretto Disaronno because, well, it’s my favorite. But of course you can use another brand too 🙂 I used a kitchen blow torch to caramelize the sugar. They are pretty easy to find these days and not very expensive. If you don’t have one, you can use the broiler in your oven but be careful not to overcook your custard! It should only take a couple of minutes to caramelize the sugar. Also, the custard is baked in ramekins that are placed in a baking dish with enough hot water poured into it (a bain marie) so that the water reaches 2/3rds the hight of the outside of the ramekins. This helps to protect the eggs from curdling. Feel free to share your favorite Creme Brûlée flavors and versions in the comment section below! 🙂

 

IMG_0572This recipe does not have a lot of ingredients, or a lot of complicated steps which makes it nice and easy. All you need for this version is heavy cream, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, and Amaretto Disaronno.

First, place the cream into a small saucepan, heat the cream just until warm, and add your vanilla and your amaretto flavorings.

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Meanwhile, blend your sugar and egg yolks until just combined. Do not whip a lot of air into this mixture. You want a nice dense custard. Next, slowly add your heated cream to the egg yolk and sugar mixture to combine it all together. Strain this mixture into a large measuring cup or pitcher.

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Pour the hot cream mixture into ramekins, leaving a little room on top, and place them into a large baking dish. Place the baking dish into the preheated oven first, and pour hot, not boiling, water into the baking dish until the water level reaches  2/3 rds up the side of your ramekins. Bake until just set, but still a little jiggly in the center about 40-50 minutes. Start checking your custards on the early side, the cooking time will depend on how deep your ramekins are. Once baked, remove the baking dish from the oven.  When they are cool enough to handle, remove the ramekins from the water bath, cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. At least 4 hours.

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When ready to serve, take about a tablespoon more of sugar, sprinkle over the top of the custard and move it around to cover completely. Shake of any excess.

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Light your kitchen blow torch, and slowly, in a circular motion “burn” your sugar….

IMG_1071until you have a beautiful golden brown color. Let the sugar set for a few minutes before serving to allow it to get hard. Or, if using a broiler, watch the sugar closely until just caramelized and remove right away as to not over cook your custard.

*Always use extreme caution when operating a propane torch! Follow the appropriate safety procedures, read the manufacturers instructions, and do not leave unattended. Do not use near any flammable materials.

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And there you have it, Creme Amaretto Creme Brûlée! Enjoy!

 

Amaretto Creme Brulee (Yields: 4-6 servings) 

Ingredients:

2c Heavy Cream

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Tbs Almond Liquor (recommended: Amaretto Disaronno)

1/2c Granulated Sugar, plus 4 Tbs more for caramelizing the tops of the custards

5 Large Egg Yolks

Procedure: 

1. Heat the cream until just warm, and add the vanilla and amaretto flavorings.

2. Blend the egg yolks and sugar together. Add in the heated cream.

3. Strain the cream into a large measuring cup or pitcher.

4. Pour the cream evenly into each ramekin.

5. Bake the custards in a water bath until just set, but still a little jiggly in the center.

6. Cool the ramekins, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

7. When ready to serve, sprinkle the tops of each custard with a thin layer of sugar. Brown the sugar with a blowtorch or broiler without heating the custard. Let the Creme Brulee sit for a few minutes to let the caramelized sugar harden before serving.

 

 

 

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