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Creme Brulee

This recipe honors a timeless classic, a luxurious custard with a burnt-sugar crust. (This is made a day ahead, so it's convenient for the hosts.)

1 quart heavy cream
1 cup sugar, divided
10 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar-in-the-raw
For the garniture:
8 fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the heavy cream (don't even think about not using heavy cream -- it's important) and 1/2 cup sugar, and scald over high heat without stirring. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Add half the hot cream to the egg yolks, whisk until smooth, then add the remaining hot cream. Transfer the custard to a pitcher and stream into eight 4-ounce ramekins.

Set the ramekins in a half-sheet pan, add water to half the depth of the ramekins, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the custard is set. Remove from the oven, remove the ramekins from the water bath, and chill overnight. The next day, sprinkle the custards with the sugar-in-the-raw (we purchased this at GNC, and it makes quite a difference) and burn with a propane torch or under a broiler until the sugar is melted and well-caramelized. (We did this under the broiler and it worked fine, but watch carefully and rotate the custard so they caramelize equally.) Cool.

To serve: Arrange the ramekins on eight dessert plates, and garnish each with a fresh raspberry.

"Duquesne Club Cookbook: Four Seasons of Fine Dining" by Keith Coughenour

Thursday, January 06, 2000

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