Julia Child’s “Crème Brûlée”

I received my acceptance letter into my Masters program while I was watching “Julie & Julia”. The first time I ever watched Julie & Julia I was overwhelmed by the far-fetched notion that anyone can ‘cook their way’ into anything in life. It was, after all, why Julie initiated the project. And as a true imposter, it sold me this preposterous idea that made me feel like, I, too, can cook my way out of grad school. After all, the endless readings and reports will call for a short crisis, which inevitably will lead me straight to the kitchen. So, as a result, I calmed myself down over the excitement of getting my acceptance and I headed over to my kitchen table to figure out the entirety of this blog universe. And yes, the idea is recurrent- it is not like I am a trail blazer, but do give me credit,  I was in kindred spirit. Blogging and grad school would be a fresh new start.

Here I have attempted Julia’s famous Creme Brûlée recipe from her book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. The authenticity of her recipes are in many ways enduring, and eternal, as comfort is felt when one reminisces of what it might have been like in France 1950 – the year Julia Child enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu as a 37-year-old amateur cook. One slight difference in time, undoubtedly, is the abundance use of butter in classic French recipes. Compared to our societal perception towards ‘the frequent use’ of butter, using this ingredient, and often, will be like getting caught in a rip current. But is it not a classic technique to dive into the pool first, then learn how to swim?

Julia Child’s Creme Brûlée 

Total time: 3 hours and 20 minutes

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons  white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Vanilla Bean or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (depends on preference)
  • Brown or White Sugar for candied topping

Process

  1. In stand mixer or with hand mixer, beat egg yolks with 5 Tablespoons of sugar for about 3 minutes, until ribbon forms.  Then beat in the cornstarch for one minute.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, bring heavy cream and scraped vanilla bean or vanilla extract if using, to a boil.
  3. Slowly, very slowly, a few drops at a time, add the boiling cream to the egg mixture to temper the eggs while the mixer is running on LOW. This prevents the eggs from cooking.  Continue to add the cream until it is all incorporated. If using, remove the vanilla pod.
  4. Return the mixture to the saucepan over moderate heat, watching very closely, and never allowing it to simmer. Stir constantly. The sauce will thicken as it cooks – but do not let it get above 170 on your candy thermometer.  It should be thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.
  5. Pour into shallow bowls and refrigerate for several hours. Sprinkle with sugar and use your torch to crystallize it, or, alternatively, place in a preheated broiler for about 5 minutes.  Top with fresh fruit if you like.

Lessons Learned: This recipe is fairly simple to follow. If it is your first time using the blowtorch, after this, your confidence will be elevated in the kitchen. It was great fun fiddling around with this equipment; and the result, just incredible.

Recipe taken from: http://doughmesstic.com/2010/01/07/classic-creme-brulee-la-julia-child/

Ps. my apologies for the low-to-no HD quality on these pictures. First time’s a charm, or third time? I will get there eventually.

Creme Brûlée

"I think every woman should have a blowtorch." Julia Child

“I think every woman should have a blowtorch.” Julia Child

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