Monday, December 9, 2013
Burnt Caramel Custards
Phew! What a week it's been. Craig and Sally, two of our favorite people, flew in from Dallas to spend Thanksgiving and my birthday with us. One of my very favorite things about them is how easy to be around they are. Theres no pressure to do this or that or all be together, we just move fluidly in and out of lunches, dinners, meetings, workouts and down time, talking or reading or sharing. Everyone is just themselves and accepted and loved as such. Plus their daughter, Evey and our son were basically inseparable the whole time. It twas awesome. I'm so sad to see them go. Sniff sniff.
Jeremiah and Evey pulling the wishbone
Also, on klove the other day (the Christian radio station) I heard one of the hosts say something about a story they read about someday being able to put a computer chip under our skin to use for credit cards or something like that. Then she followed up with wouldn't that be cool? What she did NOT say was EVERYONE FREAK OUT BECAUSE THIS IS DEFINITELY THE MARK OF THE BEAST!!!!!!!!!
You guys, don't look at me like that. I can't be the only little girl who was warned about this mark of the beast computer chip thing. Its burned into my fear memory. This information was presented to me as hard fact. Then, when I got married and told Jeremy all about it he rolled his eyes and said well, they were certain credit cards were the mark of the beast before the computer chip thing, and it was something else before that...maybe checks? Jeremy grew up in the church and his dad and grandpa were pastors, so I considered him the utmost authority about such matters. Jeremy didn't seem alarmed and I learned to relax a little.
If you're still staring, confused about all this "mark of the beast" stuff, you needn't worry. You might be like, well, thanks Krysta, but generally when we're talking about BEASTS I will worry.
And I'll have to be like, good point, friend, but do you know how many religious leaders predicted end of the world stuff and were wrong? And do you know how many people believe different things about this beast business? And do you even want to spend your time worrying about beasts anyway? I mean, it's Christmas...
It IS Christmas, dontchaknow, and I'd bet since you are the type of person to read food blogs, you'd also be the type of person to throw a big ole Christmas dinner. If this is sounding right, then I have the perfect dessert for you this holiday! And I do mean perfect. One recipe makes 8 servings, it can be made up to a day ahead of time or morning of since its served cold, and its decadent and different. Also its easy and fast to make. There are a few steps, and I will ask you to bake these in a water bath but DON'T FREAK. Even if you don't know what a "water bath" is, much like the mark of the beast drama, it's not going to matter right now. It's going to be just fine. I'll walk you through it. The end result will be a creme brulee-ish custard without the hard top but it will taste like a soft vanilla caramel. These are rich, but so so lovely.
Burnt Caramel Custards
adapted from Bon Appetit, Oct. 2013
1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3/4 cup plus 4 Tablespoons sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
pinch of kosher salt
Whipped cream (for serving; optional)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place cream in a medium saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add pod. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat; set aside.
Bring 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar and 2 Tablespoons water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar (don't over-stir). Make sure sugar is completely dissolved and then raise heat to medium-high. Boil, swirling pan occasionally and brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush ( I don't do this unless its obviously collecting at the sides of the pan), until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 4 mints; remove from heat.
Remove vanilla pod from cream; discard. Slowly add cream to caramel (mixture will bubble vigorously). Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Whisk egg yolks, kosher salt, and remaining 2 Tablespoons sugar in a large bowl. Slowly pour in caramel cream, whisking constantly. Divide custard among eight 6-ounce ramekins or oven-proof bowls, and place in a large baking dish or roasting pan. If you need two pans to fit all the ramekins, thats okay too. Fill pan with water to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Don't freak out. It'll look like this:
Bake until custard is just set but still jiggly in the center, 60-70 minutes. Remove ramekins from baking dish; place on a wire rack and let cool. Chill custards, uncovered, at least 3 hours.
Posted by Krysta at 3:55 PM