In my previous post I wrote about one of Ina Garten’s recipes, Chocolate Orange Mousse, in her wonderful book, Barefoot in Paris. I didn’t give Ina’s recipe my usual rave reviews because it fell short of my expectations from reading the recipe and I was disappointed. I have to be honest and confess that everybody gobbled it up and thought the dessert was delicious, so I was definitely the minority at the table. I have gone back to read reviews on the Food Network and found that most people gave the recipe 4 or 5 stars and those who didn’t complained of exactly the things I didn’t care for: too rich, not enough chocolate flavor and a too thick consistency. So there you have it.
I have said before that Ina’s cookbooks are the favorites in my collection and if I had to choose just one author’s recipes to rely on it would be hers. I think it is only fair now to give you one of my favorite Ina recipes from Barefoot in Paris. If there are people out there who don’t like creme brulee I have yet to meet them. It’s such a simple dessert and is the perfect ending to any meal – casual or elegant. I dropped a few fresh raspberries into each ramekin before baking and they added a lovely tartness to the silky custard. I made these in the morning, chilled them for a few hours, caramelized the tops about an hour before dinner and put them back in the fridge to chill. If you don’t add fruit the custards can be made a day or two ahead, but if you do add berries make them the day they are served. The fruit releases water overnight and makes a little puddle in the custard and the tops don’t caramelize because of the moisture.
- 1 extra large egg
- 4 extra large egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
- fresh raspberries, if desired
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks and ½ cup sugar together on low speed until just combined. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it's very hot to the touch, but not boiled.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs. Add the vanilla and Grand Marnier and pour into 6 to 8 ounce ramekins until almost full. I strain the mixture at this point to make sure there are no little bits of cooked egg in it.
- Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Add a few fresh raspberries to the custard mixture if desired. Bake for 30-35 minutes ( I cooked mine for 25 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 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens. I like to put the custards back into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to chill it because the caramelization warms it up a bit and I prefer it nice an cold.
Spring flowers are starting to appear here in the Pacific Northwest despite the record rains we have been enduring (March was the wettest on record). Daffodils are popping up only to be beaten down by heavy rain and flowering trees are showing their colors, but it doesn’t feel like spring is anywhere close by. I was talking to a friend about past trips to Paris and the conversation brought back beautiful memories of how glorious the City is in the Spring. I won’t be going there this month, but have a grand trip planned for next April, 2013, to celebrate my birthday. It’s a big one and I want it to be full of memories that I will enjoy for many years ahead. I love the trip planning part, don’t you? Even though I have been to Paris many times there are always new places to research and plans to make. We have rented an apartment on rue Cler that has a kitchen so I will be able to buy local ingredients and actually cook them right there IN PARIS! It makes me light headed just thinking about it…sigh. I thought you might enjoy a few Parisian streets scenes. Flowers are everywhere in April and the weather is usually beautiful.
The Gardens at Giverny in April
April’s white asparagus is so wonderful! When my daughter and I were in Paris the first time a good friend of mine invited us to dinner on her live aboard boat on the Seine. She prepared a big platter of these mammoth spears that we dipped into bowls of lemon vinaigrette. We will never forget that awesome evening. We walked home to our hotel as the sun was setting and saw the twinkling lights on the Eiffel Tower light up the sky. Unforgettable.
Thanks for stopping by to visit. I hope you will try Ina’s delicious creme brulee and you enjoyed a little glimpse of the streets of Paris.
I’m joining Yvonne at StoneGable for this week’s On the Menu Monday. I hope you will stop by to say hello.