If there is a dessert of the Angels, I believe Creme Brulee would be it. A creamy, dreamy cloud made of custard topped with caramelized and toasty sugar and a few bites of fresh berries? My taste buds tell me it's heaven on earth. Normally, this dessert is consumed on a certain special occasion and time: at approximately 1:30 or 2:00am on Christmas Eve, after midnight mass at the Nido house. I'm not sure when my dad started this tradition but it's just what we do. And I love it.
No one ever wrote in writing that we had to stick to the "Creme Brulee on Christmas Eve only" rule and since we didn't want to wait another EIGHT MONTHS to indulge, I kind of, sort of, broke this made up rule that I'm now talking myself into believing such a thing actually exists.
Our fancy schmancy Easter for two ended with Creme Brulee and since I like to keep it honest around here, I do believe my sweet masterpiece would have even impressed my dad, the Creme Brulee master himself! I didn't get a chance to use my blow torch because it somehow kind of slipped my mind that it requires butane to flame up! Silly me. Luckily, the broiler worked nearly just as well. I popped our little brulees in the freezer for 15 minutes after caramelizing the sugar so that the custard would be cold when we ate it. It's best that way.
Amaretto Creme Brulee
recipe adapted from Ina Garten
1 large egg
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. Amaretto
Sugar in the Raw
Fresh raspberries or blackberries
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks, and sugar on low speed until just combined.
Scald the cream in a heavy bottom saucepan until just before it begins to boil.
With the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot cream into the egg + sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and Amaretto. Pour custard into ramekins until almost full. (I used 4 oz. ramekins)
Place the ramekins into a baking pan and carefully pour water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.
To serve, spread 1 Tbsp. of Sugar in the Raw on top of each ramekin. Heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the sugar hardens. If using a broiler, place ramekins under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until sugar is evenly caramelized. Let ramekins cool down and then place in freezer or refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to cool down.