March 15, 2006

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee and Champagne Cocktails

Blush Cran-Rass Cocktail
Mix equal parts cranberry with raspberry juice with blush champagne.

Blush Sunrise
Mix equal parts orange juice and blush champagne. I actually thought of combining the two, mimosa style, then read on Napa Style Michael Chiarello site that he had dubbed the concoction a Napa Sunrise.
I am not much of a wine drinker, but I do love Asti, and generic mutations thereof. I picked up some Blush Champagne to see if overly winey and under-ly champagney. For my tastes, it leaned too much on the wine side of things, but mix it with some orange juice or cranberry juice and I am buzzing all weekend.

I picked up some $1 dishes at Target last week that did a fantastic job. Shown are the brulee dishes and two $1 heart cake pans that I used as the perfect pans for the water bath.

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
Recipe from Alton Brown

1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.