Sunday, January 6, 2013

Creme Brulee

I planned on making Creme Brulee for Christmas dinner this year.  It has been a favorite of our family for years.  I looked on my blog, because I was sure I had posted it long ago. But to my surprise it wasn't here. I decided I better post it. I like having my blog because it enables me to have access to my favorite recipes wherever I happen to be (as long as I have internet access).  
Several years ago, Emma invited me to attend a charity event with her and Clark at LeCaille Restaurant.  It is a very nice restaurant, in a very quaint, beautiful setting.  I had never been there, so I was very excited to go.  Allan was out of town, so Charis went with me.  It was a lot of fun and the food was delicious.  The one thing on the menu that was most memorable for me was the Creme Brulee.  I had never had it before that night.  It was so good.  I decided I really wanted to learn to make it.
That year, for Christmas, Allan bought me some ramekins and a kitchen torch.  Allan loves the kitchen torch.  Every time I make Creme Brulee, he insists on torching the tops.  It really isn't that hard to make.  Just don't over bake it or it will be kind of rubbery instead of melt in your mouth smooth and creamy.
At LeCaille, they put just a smidge of raspberry jam on the bottom of the ramekin before they poured in the Creme Brulee.  It was a delicious surprise.

Vanilla Creme Brulee
6 large egg yolks
6 Tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengwise or 1 t. real vanilla extract (the vanilla bean is better)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
6 teaspoons granulated sugar (or 8-12 teaspoons packed brown sugar).

Preheat oven to 325
Whisk yolks and 6 Tablespoons sugar in medium bowl to blend.  Scrape in the seeds from vanilla bean. Gradually whisk the cream into the sugar and eggs.  Divide mixture among 6 - 3/4 cup custard cups or ramekins.  Arrange dishes in 13x9x2 inch baking pan.  Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of dishes.
Bake custared approximately 35-40 minutes until the custard is set.  Do not overbake or your custard will be rubbery.  Remove the pan from the oven and remove custard cups from the water.  Allow custards to cool before placing in the refrigerator.  Chill overnight. 
Two hours before serving, sprinkle 1 teaspon sugar on top of each custard, spread the sugar evenly.  using a kitchen torch, carefully carmelize the sugar on top.   Or, Place dishes on small baking sheet. Broil unil sugar just start to caramelize, rotating sheet for even browning, about 2 minutes. Sugar should be a pretty golden brown, not black. Chill until caramelized sugar hardens, about 2 hours.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Carmel Apple Popcorn

I'm a little reluctant to post this recipe.
I've made it for several family parties this year. I made it for Elijah's baptism. and Allan has taken it to work a few times. Every time I make it, people tell me how delicious it is. Several people have actually told me it is the best popcorn they have ever eaten.  It is that good!  That's why I am a little reluctant to share the recipe.  If I ever find a popcorn contest, I might just enter this, since it is actually my very own creation.  I'm a little concerned that someone may beat me to it.  Oh well, here goes.  Be prepared, it is a little addicting.

Carmel Apple Popcorn

2 gallons popped popcorn (8 oz. unpopped)
Several handfuls of dried apples (to taste)

1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. Apple flavoring  (available at Bakers Cash and Carry)
Pinch of baking soda

White chocolate (available at Bakers Cash and Carry)
Cinnamon Sugar in a shaker
            2 Tbsp. Cinnamon
            6 Tbsp. Sugar

Put popped corn and dried apples in a very large bowl.
Melt butter in saucepan. Add corn syrup, then brown sugar and water. Mix and place on medium heat. Stir constantly; bring to a hard boil.  Add pinch of baking soda and apple flavoring, stir in thoroughly. Remove immediately from heat and pour caramel sauce over the popped corn and mix thoroughly.

Spread popcorn on a large strip of parchment paper (4-5 feet) drizzle with melted white chocolate. While the chocolate is still wet sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. When the chocolate has set up, turn popcorn over and repeat on other side (if desired)

Break into bite sized pieces.