A tough claim I know. But I did. It was glorious!
Up until last month I have never had any interest in either cooking or eating a creme brulee. Mainly down to the fact I HATE eggs. When I thought of a creme brulee I thought of an eggy mixture with sugar on top. How wrong I was.
Despite my 20-odd year hatred of eggs I will eat an omelette (as long as there are enough ingredients to mask the egg taste), french toast, fish pie (the type with cut up boiled egg in), and egg fried rice. With the exception of the latter, you’ll notice that non of these dishes have the egg in the name – a crucial point. The moment that one of my friends offered me some eggy bread for breakfast I pulled a disgusted face and refused, when only a day before I was eating French toast which is basically the same thing.
That said, my parents always bring me six eggs from our home farm when they visit. I google “What to do with eggs when you don’t like eggs” regularly. A lemon creme brulee recipe suddenly popped up.
This recipe from a page called Foxes Love Lemons looked incredibly rich but more importantly, incredibly easy.
I halved the ingredients so that I wasn’t wasting a large amount of cream if everything went wrong. It is Wrong with a capital “R” to waste something as delicious and pure as double cream.
For my recipe I decided to try to make 2 creme brulees with the following ingredients
1 cup of cream
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 egg yolks
Zest of 1 lemon
A drop of vanilla
My method was slightly different to the one suggested on the website.
I put my oven on to heat up (150C/300F/Gas Mark 2)
I put the kettle on to boil and placed 2 ramekins in an oven dish
Putting the cream and 1 and 1/2 spoons of sugar in a pan to heat (not to boil, stopping before bubbles appeared)
While this was warming I added the lemon zest, vanilla, remaining sugar and egg yolks in a big green mixing bowl (colour of mixing bowl optional) and beat with a whisk.
Little side note – zest the lemon first, it was a lot harder than I had planned and the cream would have caramelised by the time I’d finished.
Once the cream was warm I slowly added it to the lemon-eggy mix drop by drop whilst whisking. I’ve watched too many cookery programs to know that a hot mix could scramble the eggs. Thank you Bake Off!
I poured the mix into a jug (through a fine mesh sieve, although I’m not sure what this achieved). The jug made it easier to pour into the ramekins. Hot water went into the oven dish, the dish went into the oven.
The first time I tried this, inevitably it went wrong, I set my oven to 300 degrees until about 25 minutes through I noticed they looked more like souffles and I was working from an american recipe on a british oven, I’d made the crucial mistake of not checking the temperature first. In the UK, it should be 25 – 30 minutes at 150 degrees C.
Checking at 20 – 25 minutes is also a huge relief, I don’t want to burn the little pots of loveliness.
Pulling them out of the oven, giggling at the satisfying wobble and leaving on the side to cool, I marvelled at the light lemony scent floating around my flat. As the recipe stated (and my stomach disagreed with) I put the ramekins in the fridge for 24 hours.
At this point I remembered a little pearl of wisdom my mother imparted, pull the ramekins out of the fridge and let them come up to room temperature before hitting them with the heat of the blow torch.
It took me 4 days to find a gas canister to fill up my mini blow torch and about 5 minutes to fill my father with horror when I called him to say that he didn’t need to do it for me.
“Go outside and don’t blow yourself up!!” comforting advice
Once the blow torch worked and I was satisfied that I wasnt going to blow up my apartment, I sprinkled a thin layer of sugar over the yellow custard and attacked it with blue fire.
Result? A perfect looking desert.
It took so much will power to make it to my sofa and let the top cool slightly before hitting it with my spoon to see the sugar layer crack.
The sunshine coloured silk that lay below was the best thing I have ever made. I was in heaven for a full 4 minutes whilst I devoured every single spec of goodness. Who cares about the calories?!!
The best thing? Apart from it now obviously being my signature ‘go-to’ dish… I have another one in the fridge for tonight!