TGIF. TGIFFF (Thank God it’s Fast Fix Friday)! This Friday is really something special…it’s my crème brulee dupe. My favorite dessert in the whole world is crème brulee. Here’s the odd thing. I don’t like custard. I know. I know. You don’t need to tell me that this is a burnt sugar covered custard, my significant other reminds me EVERY TIME I order it. Actually, he makes a mean crème brulee himself, but it is a lot of work. If you are like me and love crème brulee you will absolutely love this fast fix recipe. It is a fool your guests kind of a dish. Word of caution, don’t try and pass it off to a crème brulee expert, because they will bust you on it. For the rest of the world, go for it. It will remain our little secret.
Like so many delicacies this started out as peasant food. In England it was/is called burnt cream, and they make it in many flavors. Then when French chefs started to make their version they did something genius. They added vanilla, and crème brulee as we know it was born. It was a relatively low key dish until the 1980’s when it became a symbol of wealth and self-indulgence. Hmm…imagine that happening in the 80’s the decade that worshiped affluence and luxury right!? When a restaurant in New York called Le Cirque started serving this dessert, it became so popular, that now pretty much any fine dining establishment has its version. I’ve tried many versions over the years and they were all fantastic, but my favorite continues to be the simple original vanilla version.
Ok. Now let’s get to the recipe that will make you the hit of your next dinner party. First you start with a simple unassuming box of instant vanilla pudding, do not use the kind that needs to be cooked. Sometimes, I like to use sugar free pudding because in calorie math it cancels out the calories of the heavy cream. Just kidding. It doesn’t, but don’t you wish that worked? Add the pudding mix to a bowl, or I actually use my stand mixer. To the bowl I add 1 cup of heavy cream, ½ cup milk (I used 2%), ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. I know it sounds odd, but the salt will enhance the sweetness of the dessert. Mix this all together well. To do this I use my whisk attachment on my mixer, whipping it until it becomes a bit fluffy. More is not better in this case though. If you whisk it too much the cream will start to churn to butter, so a little fluffy is good, but use restraint. Divide the mixture evenly between your ramekins. How many servings this makes is dependent on the size of your ramekins. They come in several sizes. I then like to put them in the refrigerator for a little bit to get nice and chilled.
If you are making them for a dinner party I would leave them in the refrigerator until you are ready for the floor show. When you are ready, pull them out and cover them evenly with turbinado (raw) sugar. Let the floor show begin! Take your culinary torch and heat the sugar evenly with the flame to brulee the sugar on top. If you don’t have a torch then skip the floor show, put your ramekins on a cookie sheet, and brown the sugar under the broiler. I prefer the floor show myself. That’s it. You are ready to eat. There really is nothing better than taking your spoon, cracking though the sugar layer, and scooping into the wonderful silky pudding underneath.
I hope you enjoy having this fast, fantastic, wow dessert in your repertoire. Until next time approach life being fantastically sweet with a bit of a protective sugar shell…and as always stay glamorous.