Thursday, December 16, 2010

First Christmas dinner of the season

Complete with crackers, plastic toys, glasses of wine and snow.

I love Christmas.

Last night's menu was very French:

Charcuterie platter
Guinea fowl in creamy pepper sauce
Celeriac mash
Chocolate Creme Brulee.

Creme Brulee is not that hard to make, the biggest disaster is if you cook the egg yolks too quickly, they will curdle if the cream is too hot.

500ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
75g caster sugar
25g vanilla sugar (I just have a glass jar of caster sugar with a vanilla pod in it)
6 egg yolks
4 chunks of rich patissier chocolate

Preheat the oven to 150°c

Break the chunks up and place on a plate in the oven while it preheats to soften.

Bring the cream and vanilla to the boil in a saucepan then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Beat the sugar and egg yolks together in a large heat proof bowl until light and fluffy.

Heat the cream back up to just short of boiling, then pour over the sugar and egg mixture, whisking continuously until it starts to thicken.  For a super smooth creme brulee, you can seive the mixture now.

Pour the mixture into 4 ramekins and place in a bain marie (an oven tray with hot water upto about half way on the ramekins), drop a chunk of chocolate into each ramekin, stir with a skewer to swirl the chocolate through the mixture.

Bake in the centre of the oven for about 40 to 45 minutes until the custard is set but slightly wobbly.  Leave to cool or refridgerate until about to serve.

To finish, sprinkle with caster sugar - and this is where my recipe fell apart last night.  I don't have a chef's blowtorch (Brendan offered me his plumbing one but I declined).  I tried to do the grill version of caramelising the sugar, but it just left the set custard runny.  So looks like a blowtorch is on my wish list now.

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