I know I’m always going on and on about how to eat healthy on a college student’s budget. And don’t get me wrong — I’m still all about that. But that doesn’t mean that a girl can’t splurge every now and then on something that makes her feel incredible and fancy and French. There are days when you have to make a dessert without an English word to describe it, even if it means making an exorbitant $15 purchase–albeit with a gift card from high school graduation–for a device that serves no other function than to caramelize sugar (and impress friends). I’m talkin’ about crème brûlée, folks.
I was first introduced to crème brûlée through Amelie, one of my favorite French films. Amelie is constantly indulging in small pleasures: “immersing one’s hand in a sack of grain, cracking the crust of a crème brûlée with the back of a teaspoon, or skipping stones on the Canal St. Martin.” When I first ordered crème brûlée on a cruise, I realized firsthand how gratifying it is to break the thin layer of melted sugar to reveal the smooth custard underneath. Taste is tantamount to hearing, smelling, touching, and seeing a crème brûlée’s consumption.
So naturally I couldn’t resist purchasing four ramekins and a blowtorch. The recipe came with the box, but I found a lemongrass/kaffir lime crème brûlée that I’m dying to try out. I scalded 1 c. heavy cream with 1 c. milk, then let a vanilla bean steep in it for 10 minutes before scraping the vanilla “caviar” into the mixture. Then I used an electric mixer to mix 3 egg yolks, 1 egg, and 1/4 c. sugar into a bowl. I slowly added the milks mixture in a steady stream, then strained the mixture, and poured it into ramekins, which I set in a pan. I poured in hot water until it reached halfway up the ramekins, and baked them in a 325 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Top with superfine, brown, or turbinado sugar and torch!
The results were incredible — a magnificent sensory experience. I can’t wait for the next lazy rainy day when I can cuddle up under blankets on the couch, put on Amelie, and crack my crème brûlée crust with Audrey Tautou.