Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beer tasting Dinner Part Three -- Dessert

Finally, dessert. TheTooth bought me a propane torch for the kitchen for Christmas, so I immediately set about making Creme Brulee. I chose a chocolate version for this dinner, which I suspect is now his favorite. Again, forgive the blurry shot. I'm still figuring this out. Just look at the small one, OK?

Dessert: Chocolate Creme Brulee Served with: Vanilla Bourbon Porter

This dessert is so simple to make that ordering it in a restaurant seems downright silly. Yes, it is not exactly light in the calories, but if you don't eat it everyday you should be OK. TheTooth likes a thicker solid crust on his so I deviate from almost every recipe. I'm sure you can broil this, but a torch is so much more fun. Trust me.

Chocolate Creme Brulee (my version, mixed up from about 10 others)

Serves 6

3 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
9 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ounce cocoa powder
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Enough turbinado sugar to cover your ramekins

1. Heat your oven to 300F.

2. Combine half the cream, and the granulated sugar in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, make sure that the sugar dissolves.

3. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate and cocoa powder until melted and dissolved in the mixture.

4. Get out a roasting pan, place a clean kitchen towel in the bottom, and place your ramekins on the towel. Boil some water (enough to come 2/3 up the ramekins).

5. Once cream has cooled a bit and the chocolate is fully combined, stir in the rest of the cream. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl until light in color. Whisk in the vanilla and about 1/4 cup of the cream mixture to begin tempering the eggs. Once that is combined, add in another 1/4 cup of the mixture. Do this once more, then add the rest of the cream mixture and whisk until fully combined. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a big pyrex measuring cup or other pitcher. Divide among your ramekins.

6. Carefully place the pan with the ramekins on an oven rack located in the lower third of your oven. Pour boiling water into the pan, but don't splash into the ramekins, until the water comes up 2/3 of the way of the ramekins. Bake until firm, which should take about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven. Check it after 30 just to be safe.

7. Remove ramekins from pan to a cooling rack using rubber-banded tongs (thanks Alton Brown!) and cool to room temperature. Cover each tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.

8. When ready to serve, remove the plastic, and blot off any moisture from the custards with a paper towel. If you like a thinner crust, sprinkle the ramekin with a tablespoon or so of the turbinado, turning the dish to coat evenly, and tapping out the excess. If you like a thicker crust, pulverize about a cup of the sugar in your food processor (so you'll have extra for next time) until it is as fine as baking sugar. Use this to coat the ramekins in the above fashion.

9. Get out your torch, fire it up, and brown those tops. Be careful not to set the whole kitchen on fire. I suppose you could broil them until bubbly, but a torch gives a better crust and is just more darned fun!

The pairing worked OK, but we ended up having a ruby port with this.

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