Lemon Creme Brulee

/ Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas break is soon coming to a close, and I'm starting to feel like the holidays are out of my system. It is probably a good thing, though, because in all the running around I haven't really taken the time to post anything on my blog. I haven't  been posting as consistently as I would have hoped, but with 2014 settling in, I'm ready to get back to it!

For Christmas I got a continuous studio lighting kit. I can finally work with artificial light, and that will be extremely helpful for the short hours of daylight here in Minnesota's winter. I used them for the first time with these photos, and I have to say I'm very pleased with the result!

This week I was really feeling a creme brulee recipe. It's a simple, amazing dessert that works for any occasion including an extremely cold winter day like today.
Also see this post for a regular creme brulee recipe.

Lemon Creme Brulee

Serves: 6

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup half and half (light cream)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 300F. Arrange 6 custard cups in a large pan with sides at least 1 1/2 inches deep.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring the heavy cream, half and half, and lemon zest just to a boil, and then remove it from the heat. Allow it to cool on the counter top for 10 minutes. Pour the lemon-infused cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and set it aside for a moment. Rinse the sieve for later use and discard the used citrus zest.

Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl until they turn frothy and bright yellow. Slowly whisk 1/3 cup sugar, the lemon cream, and vanilla extract into the beaten eggs. Beat the mixture for 90 seconds. Pour the eggs and cream through a medium-mesh sieve into a large (4 cup) liquid measuring cup. Divide the mixture between 6 custard cups and fill the large pan with hot water half-way up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake the custard in the hot-water bath for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until the custard is set, but still moves a bit in the center when jiggled. Cool the custard in the water bath for 20 minutes, and then refrigerate them until they are chilled. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar over tops of the custards and caramelize the sugar with a blow torch (you can use a special kitchen blowtorch, or an actual one, I find that the real blow torch generally does a better job). Serve immediately as the melted sugar will dissolve after about 30 min.

Enjoy! Until next week!

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