We started with passed appetizers and cocktails in our private sitting room. Then we moved into a private dining room and were served a deconstructed lobster roll (Mrs. BA, who's not fond of the crustaceans, was given a lamb carpaccio, which practically melted in her mouth). We then had a cold summer squash soup, followed by the main course of a veal chop with crabmeat on top. Dessert was a creme brulee.
So now, I need to have more creme brulee (I may have finished Mrs. BA's after finishing my own). Here's a recipe that showed up in my inbox a while back. Hey, I own a torch. I have sugar and coffee in the house (from Epicurious).
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1/4 cup dark-roast coffee beans (such as French roast; about 3/4 ounce), crushed with mallet in plastic bag
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups half and half
- 8 large egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon salt 8 teaspoons raw sugar*
Bring 1 cup cream and coffee beans to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat; cover and let steep at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Stir 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, swirling pan occasionally, about 11 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add remaining 1 cup whipping cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir over low heat until caramel is smooth. Stir in half and half. Strain coffee-infused cream into caramel cream; discard coffee beans in strainer.
Whisk yolks, salt, and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in cream mixture. Strain custard into large measuring cup.
Arrange eight 2/3-to 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups in roasting pan. Divide custard among ramekins. Add enough warm water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins or custard cups.
Bake custards until just set in center, 65 to 70 minutes. Transfer custards from water bath directly to refrigerator. Chill uncovered until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
Sprinkle top of each custard with 1 teaspoon raw sugar. Using kitchen torch, melt sugar on each custard until deep amber. (Alternatively, preheat broiler. Arrange custards on small rimmed baking sheet; broil until sugar topping melts and browns, about 2 minutes.) Refrigerate custards until sugar topping hardens, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour (do not chill longer than 1 hour or topping will start to soften). Serve custards cold.
* Also called turbinado or demerara sugar; available at most supermarkets and at natural foods stores.