I’ve given Rick Bayless a thorough work over and after much consideration can say that he’s good. Well, his recipes are good. Very. But everybody probably already knew this.
I always seem to be the last one to arrive at many of my conclusions because I’m not one to hop on the newest cookbook or latest dish, or cuisine du jour. I am not saying Rick Bayless is new to Mexican cuisine, nor anyone’s latest celebrity chef. In fact I know he’s been at this for quite some time, and is highly regarded for his work. But I’m a cooking magazine slacker, so hop from one to the other trying this, and sampling that, smiling all the while, often ignoring my cookbooks, and definitely avoiding purchasing more since I barely have shelf space for the ones I own.
But I made an interesting decision recently.
I purchased Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen a couple of months ago, and since that time have delved into and thoroughly enjoyed at least 15 recipes, some of which have been made twice. I’ve never focused on one type of cuisine for this length of time before,and it has definitely been an interesting experiment I can’t wait to repeat. So why do this?
Sara of i like to cook is the host of this month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge with a Red and White theme for #18 and I am committed to joining in. Trying to keep track of all the cooking events is a challenge for me, so this is the first WCC I’ve entered.
Some time ago, The Domestic Goddess hosted Sugar High Friday and called for everyone’s favorite, most craved dessert. Having the best intentions I asked a few of my favorite people what they craved in the way of a sugar fix. With no hesitation, creme bruleé was mentioned. Well, actually, it oozed from their lips, with a kind of whisper and eyes that suddenly had a euphoric sheen to them. I wondered if I was going to have to catch them mid-swoon. Clearly, creme bruleé sends some people to food heaven. So my decision was made for me.
Why did I not choose? Because I’m one of those sad souls who enjoy far too many types of dessert. No one thing sends me over the edge. Ten things will send me groaning and wincing to my scale after I’ve eaten their lusciousness, however. An amazing apple tart competes with a boca negra, and strawberry shortcake dukes it out with napoleons. Cheesecake wrestles with lemon chiffon. And as much as I love pastry in general just about more than anything on this earth, there was absolutely no way I was going to tackle puff pastry this soon after my Daring Baker challenge with the Gateau Honore. NONE. I’m still recovering from the heart break of my beautiful brick-like disk of a failure.
So creme bruleé it was. It’s my husband’s favorite dessert and I hadn’t made it in a while since I usually prepare it for fancy dinners when all the china comes out. Besides, it would be interesting to play with that torch since I hadn’t gotten to use it before. Usually, the guys like fidgeting with it, so I don’t bother to elbow my way into the fire loving fray. In fact, my lovely father-in-law is the one who bought it for me because he loves creme bruleé, too. I think the way that works is if he buys it for me, then I’ll make the dessert. Smart man. Now, the whole challenge of wondering how to manage a camera and a torch with an intensely hot, blue flame seemed, well, interesting.
The recipe is from the Williams-Sonoma catalog that is mailed out to our homes. It’s called Raspberry Creme Bruleé and is from their Mastercook Series. I chose it because raspberries are lovely right now, and it was a straight forward recipe that was similar to others I had made.
Raspberry Creme Bruleé
Makes 6 small servings or 3 large servings (I used the large ramekins instead of halving the recipe for the three of us)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
2-1/2 c. heavy cream
8 egg yolks
1/3 c. sugar — 2 for each ramekin
1 pinch salt
1 tsp. vanilla
- Place 8 raspberries in each of six ramekins. Bring cream to simmer in a small sauce pan.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar and a pinch of salt until blended.
- Slowly whisk in hot cream, then stir in vanilla extract.
- Divide mixture among the ramekins and set them in a baking pan. Pour boiling water into the baking pans around the ramekins until it reaches halfway up the sides.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until set, being careful to not over bake.
- Remove each ramekin from the baking pan of water, cool, then chill thoroughly
- Before serving, sprinkle 2 tsp. sugar over each custard. Light torch and caramelize sugar until golden brown. If you don’t have a torch, you can place the custard under the broiler, but make sure you watch it carefully, as it will burn very quickly.
- Garnish with additional raspberries and serve.
- This was an easy recipe to make whether you have a torch or not. The texture of the custard is extremely silky, rich, and not excessively sweet. The raspberries are a pleasant accompaniment, but unless you actually bite into one, you don’t notice they’re there.
- To serve the custard, I had played around with the idea of emptying each upside down onto a plate and then caramelizing the bottom, but I couldn’t get one out of the dish. I thought it might be nice to have some raspberry coulis and a bit of cream on the plate, but oh well. I’ll have to think on that one another time. Of course, it might be nice to think about it ahead of time so something can actually be done to make it work, right?
- So there you have it. I made something for Sugar High Friday. It was done on time, the pictures were ready, and what the heck. It didn’t get posted. Sometimes, there’s just too much going on around this hacienda and my blogging desires are thrown out the window. I’m about two weeks behind right now.
- The round up for the Sugar High Friday event is up at The Domestic Goddess, so stop by and check it out. The entries are amazing. I’m going to be bookmarking all day on this one! And if you’ve never made a creme brulee, give it a shot. It’s not as challenging as you may think.