ffwd – creme brulee

This is me – playing catch-up. Unfortunately, I had to debate about whether or not to bother. But in all fairness, if I’m going to participate in French Fridays with Dorie, shouldn’t I post the not-so-great as well as the wonderful??

This should have been a pretty easy task. I’ve made creme brulee before with quite good success, I might add. So I thought – easy enough! Not so much. Well, the easy part, yes. The success….

As usual, I took Dorie Greenspan’s recipe at face value. Hers suggests a dollop of raspberry jam in the bottom of each ramekin. I happen to have some home-made jam left from this summer’s canning – so I thought that it sounded like a fabulous idea.

The simple custard is made.

Then the ramekins are filled, and baked in a 200 degree oven. (and this is where I think it all started to go wrong) for 50-60 minutes.

Even after an extra 30 minutes, mine were pretty softly-set. But, worried that I’d over-do things, I took them out of the oven and cooled them as specified, then chilled for the requisite 3+ hours.

my first attempt at the brulee - using brown sugar

Things didn’t really get better from here. I’d always used white sugar for the sugar crust, so decided to do a test. Side-by-side test of the brown vs. white sugar.

And the winner is….

At the end of the experiment day, it was really a toss-up. The white sugar actually worked better (and I kept trying, since I had 6 cremes), but the custard really never set correctly. It was too soft in the middle, so there was no satisfying cracking of the sugar, into soft but firm creme. And the raspberry jam ended up making it a bit syrupy in the bottom. Realistically, it’s likely my fail. I don’t know if it was the 200 degrees (seems low), the 80+ minutes or what, but if not an epic fail, well, not exactly a success either.

That said, I’m sure that many of my fellow FFWD crew had great success with this recipe. You can check out theirs here.

7 thoughts on “ffwd – creme brulee

      1. Interesting, I always hate that the water bath step (afraid of getting water in my custard or scalding myself with boiling water) but based on what you found, it appears that it may indeed be a critical step. Thanks for being the tester – I can’t wait to get back to cooking soon!!

        Happy New Year to you as well!!! =)

        PS – Yum to the homemade raspberry jam!

  1. No… I don’t think it was your fail. Quite a few of us struggled with this one. Some other tried it at a higher temperature and had better luck. I had brulee soup as well – even after 70-90 minutes in the oven…

  2. I missed making this last week, so am planning on making it for New Year’s Eve. I think we’ve all had a few less-than-perfect dishes! Mine was the double chocolate tart & I chose not to write about it because I was simply too frustrated. Truthfully, though, your photos look fine. It’s tough spending so much time on something then not having it turn out the way we’d like, but that’s really how we learn!

    Wishing you a fabulous 2012!

  3. How frustrating. I hate when that happens, but as Susan said, that’s how we learn. I had to cook mine for an extra half hour too, but it did set. I initially tried the brownulated sugar that Dorie suggested, but it mostly burned. I used turbinado sugar with much better success. It melted well and was wonderfully crackly.

  4. Nana and I went from never trying this at home- despite a ridiculous amount of creme brulee gear and torches- to trying multiple times. Dorie inspired us but we found we preferred Ina Garten’s better. It is online at the Foodnetwork. Good luck and glad you enjoyed the process. It added at least 5 pounds to my life 🙂

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