Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

So the move to Twin Cities (Minnesota) is officially official. For the past year we’ve been going back and forth from NY to Minnesota to NY to Pakistan to Minnesota, and it was taking its toll. Living out of suitcases, constant packing and unpacking, working remotely on a 15 inch laptop, not having access to my car, not having access to my mixer… well it was just as stressful as it sounds. But alh things have finally (sort of) settled down. I’m still unpacking, but at least I’m in a space that’s MY home.

Creme Brulee 3

People keep asking me how I could move from a place like NY to something so small time like Minneapolis / St Paul, and I don’t quite know how to respond. I’m actually really liking it here. There are a ton of coffee shops, great food spaces, a pretty cool art scene, and everything is manageable. I can drive just about everywhere, nearly every spot is kid friendly (I’m talking baby changing stations in the bathroom, high chairs, crayons readily available for kids), and it’s not overwhelming. I’m pretty excited to start really exploring spaces and sharing them with you all. The only thing that gets me down is how hard it is meeting new people. We have a few friends that we’ve made and I’m actually going to brunch with a great group of women tomorrow so let’s see how that goes. Feeling grateful for the few random interactions I’ve had that have panned out so well.

Creme Brulee 1

The whole not-knowing-anyone-here feeling not only affects my social life, but my baking life. Before I would bake up a storm for posts, and know that I could easily give away most of it. Here, it’s a struggle. This will definitely change the format of the blog I feel. Do I switch things up to include more dessert-for-two posts, or savory food, or cafe reviews? Do I start expanding beyond food and let you all in on the books I’m reading or the films I’m watching? I’ve actually been thinking about how I wanted to change up this space. I don’t know what direction I want to take, or how to adjust my workflow so that I can actually keep up with blogging. This whole new-post-every-six-months thing isn’t working. I’m trying a new editing software, a new camera, and may invest in a new laptop / tablet in the coming weeks. A lot of times I may have pictures ready, but I don’t know what to write about. Or rather, I don’t know how those that actually read the blog will react. I feel frivolous writing about oh-my-gosh-THE-BEST-cookie-recipe-EVERRRRRR-guys when my mind is actually filled with thoughts about injustice, or the hate some people feel in the world. I may be allowing myself to use this space as a place where I can vent my frustrations. Let’s see.

Creme Brulee 2

Anyways, here is an amazing creme brulee recipe (way to transition Aaisha). We had some friends over a month ago to meet our new daughter, and since there were only going to be four of us, I needed something quick and satisfying that could be made ahead of time. I also wanted to work on something that I could potentially post about. This recipe fit the bill exactly. It only leaves four egg whites leftover, which you can use for these coconut macaroons, or this vanilla cakes, and is so silky smooth. I’ve had issues with creme brulee in the past where it didn’t bake enough, or it overbaked, or it was too eggy. For us this was perfect. And I got to use my Neilsen Massey vanilla bean paste, which let’s me get that vanilla bean flavor without having to scrape out the pesky beans. Isn’t a vanilla dessert extra special when you can see the little black specks? So try it out and let me know.

Creme Brulee 4

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
 
Original recipe from Barefoot Contessa - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/creme-brulee-recipe.html
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 egg (yolk and whites)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of sugar (plus extra for the brulee)
  • 3 cups of cream
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste (or scrape the seeds from 1 vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract if you are in a pinch)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Mix the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup of the sugar together on low speed until just combined. Set aside.
  3. Warm the cream and vanilla bean paste (or scraped vanilla beans) in a small saucepan until it's very hot to the touch but not boiled. Basically until it gets foamy at the top and just until you see those tiny bubbles at the edge of the pan.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add scalded cream to the eggs. If you are using vanilla extract, add during this step.
  5. Pour into 6 8-ounce ramekins until almost full.
  6. Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 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.
  7. To serve, spread about 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar carmelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

 

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