Pour a glass of wine, because we are celebrating Fork in the Kitchen’s first FRENCH FRIDAY!
What is French Friday, you ask? It’s only the greatest thing to happen so far in 2019, obviously. Besides you know, 4 snow days off in a row, and Cannoli Brownies).
A little backstory: I’ve always been obsessed with France. Which sounds totally cliche. Like, I rocked the Eiffel Tower lamp back in 2001, then portraits of the Eiffel Tower lined my first college apartment.
It’s more than just a kitchy obsession with the Eiffel Tower (note: I have no Eiffel Towers on display in my current apartment… (there is the bottle opener in my drawer, and a coffee mug…and some pot holders…).
It’s the food, the simplicity, the romantic vibe of just speaking French, the wine (duh), and the STRIPES. So obsessed with all things that have stripes. And it’s a whole lot of I just can’t explain it.
When I graduated high school, the “thing” was going to be a mother-daughter trip to France.
It never happened. And for the next (ahem) 12 years I didn’t let my mom hear the end of it (LOVE YOU, MOM!). So when we each reached milestone birthdays a year apart from each other, I decided I was absolutely making it happen.
I told my mama I don’t care which year we go – my birthday milestone year, or hers – but we were going. AND FRIENDS, WE ARE GOING! So basically 2019 is off to an epic start.
When I shared the news with you on Instagram – you helped me realize that French Fridays needed to be a thing. Back in North Carolina I decided I was going to learn to master baking a baguette, and I tried it a few times, but then the birth of FITK and life happend.
BUT NOW, now I have a good excuse (and push) to try out new French recipes once a month because I can’t leave you hanging for French Fridays. If we’re all lucky, maybe we’ll do two a month. Stay tuned…
Now for the Crème Brûlée
We had to start French Friday with a classic, didn’t we? It’s been in my repetoire for a few years now, but it’s finally time it comes to you. Your life deserves this creamy, luscious crème brûlée.
And not just any crème brûlée. The BEST part of this crème brûlée recipe is the vanilla bean. I mean, of course, because REAL vanilla is like
Side note: I know vanilla beans are really expensive right now. I find a TON of value in buying vanilla bean paste – it’s easy to use, is entirely real vanilla bean seeds, and yet somehow more cost-effective than the beans themselves.
Point being: please go ahead and treat yourself with vanilla bean/vanilla bean seeds because the depth of flavor is unreal. If you must, substitute with pure vanilla extract.
Crème Brûlée Ingredients
What do you need to make this creamy, luxurious dessert? Only FOUR ingredients. Yes, yes, really, just four ingredients to perfection.
- heavy cream (ha, no surprise there!)
- eggs – for the luxurious custardy base
- vanilla beans, as discussed!
Keys to Making Crème Brûlée
Essentially crème brûlée is whipped eggs and sugar, combined with warmed cream to create a custardy texture. There are a few keys here though!
- Temper the warmed cream into the egg mixture. You start by adding a bit to the eggs, whisking it, and then tempering (pouring slowly) back into the cream. You want to make sure the cream is cool-ish – warm is ok – and to pour slowly to prevent the eggs from cooking.
- Bake the ramekins in a water bath!
- My best water bath tip: place a washcloth in the bottom of your baking dish, place the ramekins on top of it, and add the water for the water bath.
- The washcloth will prevent the ramekins from slipping around as you carefully transfer the dish in and out of the oven.
- Use a culinary torch! They’re cheap on Amazon (yes, that’s an affiliate link!) and are fun to use. As long as you don’t have too much anxiety about starting a fire filling it with butane like I do (personal problem…) but after you get over that, FUN.
- Don’t have a culinary torch? You can make these without a torch still, but I do prefer the old fashioned way. If you don’t have a torch, use your broiler – see notes. It isn’t quite the same “burnt sugar” effect, but it definitely works in a pinch!
Aaaand I bet we’re all ready to go make some crème brûlée this weekend. ENJOY!
Love vanilla bean, too? Check out these other recipes!
Add to your crème brûlée skills with this Nutella Crème Brûlée, too!
Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée
- 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
- 2 vanilla beans split - see note - or 1 1/2 TBSP vanilla bean paste
- 4 egg yolks
- 6 TBSP sugar + more for topping
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare a glass baking dish with a washcloth in the bottom, 4 4-ounce ramekins on top, and water filled halfway up the ramekins to create a water bath. The washcloth is optional but it prevents the ramekins from slipping!
- Heat a saucepan over medium heat with the heavy cream and vanilla beans (if using paste, just whisk to combine). Let heat until several bubbles begin to form and then remove from heat do not let it simmer or boil. Let cool for approximately 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat together egg yolks and 6 TBSP sugar until combined and light yellow ( ~3-4 minutes of strong whisking).
- After the cream has cooled slightly, remove vanilla beans if using. Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla bean, and whisk them back in the cream. Discard the pods.
- Pour approximately 1/4 of the slightly cooled cream into the egg mixture; whisk together. Then, pour the egg mixture back into the remaining cream and stir to mix. Pour mixture into the ramekins and cover dish with foil. Bake for 30-35 minutes, just until center is barely set - there will be jiggle! Remove ramekins from water bath and let cool on a cooling rack. Cover with foil and let chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
- When serving, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top of each ramekin (I use about 2 teaspoons). Using a culinary torch, gently "burn" the sugar until it turns a rich amber color. Let cool for a minute so you don't burn yourself, and dig in! Serve immediately once brûléed.
This recipe is part of our Date Night Recipes to Love roundup. Check it out!