Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dark Chocolate Crème Brulée

Another post dealing with the 'unfortunate' side effect of the ongoing the macaron adventures: orphaned egg yolks.

Despite all the cooking I've been doing, I still have enough yolks in my refrigerator to whip up everything from aioli to zabaglione.

This morning I attempted to make a dent in the yolks by mixing up some créme brulée: Breakfast of Champions (Well, the non-athletic sort). A variation that combines two of my favorite flavors, chocolate and caramel.

When I make créme brulée I prefer to use wide shallow dishes, to give the créme brulée the optimum ratio of burnt sugar to custard. Sure that silky chocolate is good, but I am a sucker for those crisp bits of caramelized sugar. I'm also a sucker for all things involving kitchen blow torches! So I indulge, giving the dish a generous sugar crust.

Fran's Oh So Not Humble Chocolate Créme Brulée:
from Pure Chocolate
serves 6
5 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons granulated sugar (plus more for the burnt sugar topping)
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split
4.5 ounces dark chocolate (77% cacao preferred) finely chopped

Preheat your oven to 300°F and assemble six 6" ceramic tarts in a roasting pan.

With a whisk, stir together two tablespoons of sugar with the egg yolks, taking care not to incorporate too much air into the mixture.

Meanwhile, bring the cream, two remaining tablespoons of sugar and vanilla bean to a simmer over medium heat. Once it begins to foam, remove from heat and fish out the vanilla bean. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the cream and discard the pod. Add the chocolate to the mixture and stir until completely melted and smooth.

Pour about 1/2 a cup of the warm chocolate cream into the bowl with the eggs while whisking. Then add the remaining cream and mix well.

For the next step, I find that a medium sized spouted vessel is handy (like a large 4-cup glass measuring cup). Place a fine mesh sieve over the vessel and pour in the custard.

Pour the strained mixture between the six tarts, tapping the roasting pan gently on the counter to settle the custard and remove any air bubbles. Pour hot water into your roasting pan so it comes up roughly as high as the custard and then bake for 20-35 minutes (this will depends largely on how deep your tarts/ramekins are) until set.

Allow to chill (roughly 4 hours) and then sprinkle each with 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar and torch them until melted. Allow the sugar to set and then serve.

If you don't have a kitchen torch (Why?! Fire GOOD!) you can place them under the broiler to melt the sugar, watching carefully and adjusting the position frequently to help the sugars caramelize evenly.


  1. I'm still wondering why you haven't opened up a bakery yet....I'm was an avid baker and am just flabbergasted by your awesome food!

  2. It is more cost effective to bake things and then give them away. :)

  3. Actually, don't waste your money on a kitchen torch. A real blow torch works better, faster, and cheaper. I discovered this trick as a server in a steakhouse that served creme brulee. I've never looked back :)

  4. A steak house where the server whips out a BLOW TORCH?!

    I want to go to there.

  5. What a great idea to use up egg yolks! Anything that involves chocolate and custard has to be good.

  6. Oh my, this looks divine! My mother in law is a creme brulee connoisseur. I'm sure she would love this. (Maybe I should make it to impress her hehehe). And way to use up the egg yolks. Say no to waste!

  7. Omg I am speechless. Need to try this at home. The taste of this must be amazing...

  8. Looks scrumptious! I tried your peanut butter pie and it was a hit. You're awesome!

  9. LOL! I have to admit, I have used my husband blow torch. I always have a sense of accomplishment after I've used that torch to brown/crisp/burn something. This does look fabulous!

  10. Oh deliciously evil, evil deliciousness....I wish I had not seen this. It's too perfect.

  11. OMG - I skipped dessert and would go for this in a flash.

    I have never had too many yolks. With me, it's whites. Really yellow scrambled eggs?

  12. Wow. Just.... Wow. I will be making this the next there is need for a perfect dessert.

  13. I adore your site. I swear is it HORRIBLE for my hips, but my goodness you have the most delectable items posted on here. Most items that I couldn't even begin to make correctly, but nevertheless- they LOOK delicious enough for me to put on a couple of pounds!

  14. Your 'breakfast of champions' comment reminded me of John Belushi on SNL smoking a cigarette and eating a cereal of little powdered doughnuts.

  15. One of my favorite local restaurant chefs makes the most amazing Creme Brulee, Maple, Ginger or Kahlua, I am always in heaven. This looks fantastic, and Gluten Free

  16. That is one evil looking dessert... breakfast of champions!

  17. I have a question. Do butane filled torches affect the flavor? Or are they harmful in any way? I read that somewhere and you'd be the perfect person to ask :D

  18. Oh my! This looks delicious! I just got a kitchen torch a few weeks ago and have just put my third batch of creme brulee in the fridge for the night... I'm looking for something new to set alight, will have to bookmark this recipe! Great photos!

  19. Dear Ms. Humble,
    Have you ever done brulees in a non-ceramic type container? More of a "disposable brulee" container (aluminum).
    Thanks a bunch,
    yummy mummy

  20. Hello! Thank you so much for this recipe! The brulee (fist one I've ever made!) was delicious :) I added a heaped tbsp of granulated coffee and decorated with carmelised nuts :)


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