Vanilla Crème Brûlée with Nut Praline

So with all the talk going around about Fifty Shades of Grey, I gave in to popular culture and bought myself a $10 copy from Kmart on the weekend. Can you believe that the electronic copy on iBooks is the same price? So much for saving paper. I have to admit though, I’m a fan of the old school ability to feel the crisp sheets between your fingers and the sound the paper makes as you turn the pages over. Anyway, so I’m more than three-quarters of the way through and I have to admit it’s a whole heap of rubbish. I can seriously see the similarities between it and the Twilight series, and if it wasn’t for having heard that it was in fact originally Twilight fan fiction, I probably would have clued in pretty quickly. Frankly, I find it badly written and the main character extremely pathetic. No offence to those of you who relate to her….

Anyway, so with today being my day off work, I looked at how much I had left to read of Fifty Shades and knew that it wouldn’t keep me from a whole day of boredom. Therefore, I had no decision but to cook. Yes, no other decision.

I had bought a blowtorch a few months ago for the purpose of browning meringues, but I have not yet made crème brûlée with it yet. I’ve kind of been avoiding making it since my early failures of making crème caramel (the caramel hardened, the custard mixture didn’t set), which scarred me for some time.

But hey, today felt like a good day to re-address my past flaws. My cooking and baking skills and experience have come a long way in the last year or two (macarons, I have conquered you!). I found the crème brûlée recipe in Donna Hay’s A Cook’s Guide, and the praline recipe off taste.com.au. However I modified the praline recipe by a fair bit by adding different nuts and there simply wasn’t enough toffee in the original recipe.

I was relatively pleased with my crème brûlées, although slightly disappointed in their texture. While they were spot on in terms of taste, my custard was rather grainy and upon doing some research, realised that this was because when I whisked the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, I over-whisked it and it became rather frothy. When it becomes frothy, it then creates air bubbles and that makes the grainy texture. So don’t make the same mistake!

For three crème brûlées, you will need:

  • 375 ml pure (single cream);
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste;
  • 3 egg yolks;
  • 40g caster sugar;
  • 2 T caster sugar, extra

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Place the cream and the vanilla in a small saucepan over low heat and cook gently until the mixture just comes to the boil. Remove from heat. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until thick and pale. Pour the warm cream mixture over the eggs and whisk to combine. Don’t whisk so much that it’s frothy.

2. Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir over low heat for 6-8 min or until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour the custard into three ovenproof ramekins and place in a deep baking dish. Pour in enough water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. 

 

3. Bake for 25 minutes or until just set.

4. Remove the ramekins from the baking dish and refrigerate for three hours or until just set. Sprinkle with extra sugar just before serving and caramelise with a small kitchen blow torch until a golden crust forms.

To make your praline, you will need:
  • 1/4 C nuts (of any type you want, I chose hazelnuts and whole almonds);
  • 1 + 1/4C caster sugar
  • 6 T cold water.
If you bought raw nuts, toast them in a dry frying pan until you can slightly smell their glorious aroma. Don’t burn your nuts! Hehe.
Yeah, I’m mature. Crush them up in a mortar and pestle, not too finely.
Spread the nuts out on a baking tray lined with paper. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan, stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then boil without stirring, occasionally brushing down the sides with a pastry brush dipped in water, to prevent crystallisation. Boil until golden, then remove from heat. Wait until bubbles have settled, then pour it over your nuts. Make sure not to pour too much in any particular area, otherwise someone will get a particularly thick piece of praline and it will take their teeth out. Then it will be all your fault.
Once its set and cooled, break into shards. Garnish your brûlées with it, or eat it by itself.
Scrumptious brûlées!
Have a good week, lovers! I’m going to be all rotund by the end of this week, as I’m doing a fair bit of catching up with people over food (my life is hard, eh); an all-you-can-eat sushi tomorrow night with a girlfriend, then hopefully Jamie’s Italian with the law posse on Thursday, then I think I have pub dinner with the high school crew on Friday. I’ll make sure to update you all on the delicious morsels I happen across.
Take care and stay safe xx

4 Comments Add yours

  1. liannelow says:

    these look so good! I haven’t made creme brulee in a long time and after seeing this I just might have to! (: and love the praline too! looks really pretty hehe and definitely adds texture to the dessert! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. Cath Chen says:

      You’re welcome 🙂 The praline makes a whole lot, I’ve been crunching on it all day om nom nom

  2. Simone says:

    Great recipe, made it first time, turned out perfect! Family loved it! Thanks 

    1. That’s fabulous to hear, Simone! 🙂 Thanks for your feedback

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