October 16, 2022

Eggnog Crème Brulé

Takes approx. 1 hour(10-15minuts active, 45-50minutes of passive; plus chilling)
Makes 6x 4oz servings

6 4ounce ramekins
9 x 13 baking pan( at least two inches deep)
Medium Saucepan
Medium Mixing Bowl, glass or metal(avoid plastic and silicon)
5-8C of boiling water
Kitchen sieve or strainer (optional but recommended)
Aluminum (optional)
Kitchen torch (optional but recommended)

2/3 cup Eggnog
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 large egg yolks
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar for crust( see below)

1. Heat the oven to 295°F. Rack needs to be above the bottom third and not above the middle.

2. Measure out and and misen all the ingredients.

3. In medium combine first 4 ingredients(everything but sugar and eggs) and bring to a simmer over medium heat. You want the mixture at 185F-195F. Do not let it to a boil.

4. Meanwhile, whisk together yolks and granulated sugar in a medium bowl until pale yellow and thick; do not rush this, you want the sugar dissolve and fully break up the fats of the yolk.

5. Adding a scoop(1/2 cup or so) at a time, whisk in the hot cream mixture in the egg bowl to temper the egg mixture.

6. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the remainder of the heated cream mixture into yolks in a slow stream. mix thoroughly. If using a sieve, now is the time to do it; sieve the mixture back into the saucepan to strain any potential stray egg bits.

7. Divide into ramekins and place them in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. skim off foam and bubble. Place pan and ramekins in the oven on the middle rack, and Pour hot water between the ramekins until it reaches two-thirds of the way up the sides. 
(optionally) Cover baking dish with foil and poke a few holes in the foil with a skewer or knife to allow steam to escape.

8. Bake until center of custards are just set, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer
custards to a wire rack to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until
cold, about 1 hour.

9. Spread about 2 Tablespoons of crusting sugar(see notes below) on the surface of each custard.
   A. Using a kitchen torch, create the crust, sugar should be golden brown and solidify as it cools.
   B. (This method works, but is not recommended, if you can, use the torch method.) Heat broiler to high and arrange rack in the upper third. Place under broiler
until the sugar is caramelized and golden brown about 1 to 2 minutes; these go from not ready, to burnt very quickly, so keep a close eye on them. Remove from oven

Allow to cool a few minutes (the ceramic ramekins may be hot), and serve.

Notes on Eggnog:
you may use any eggnog you which you enjoy drinking, should not be a prepared or alcohol added eggnog, and you want to avoid overly thin or additive rich eggnog. You can also use homemade eggnog, or aged eggnog.

Notes on Doneness:
This is a soft custard, that means when you tap on the side of the ramekin you will see it jiggle, picking it up and rotating it will show a deformation, but it should solid with no visible liquid. If the sides are pulled away you have gone too far.

Notes on Crusting Sugar:
You can use plain white table sugar, and it will work, but it is not the best solution. Demerara or Turbinado sugar if available adds a lot of flavor, brown sugar is a suitable alternative if the others are not available; white sugar is the my last choice. 

Notes on Brulé-ing:
Brule-ing the custards is technically optional, and yes, the broiler method works, but is far from Ideal.
While using the kitchen torch, you want to keep the torch moving; try not to keep the heat in one place too long. Ideally the sugar on the entire surface will begin melting at all at once; there will be areas that melt faster or slower, and you will have the characteristic darker more heavily carameled sections.

The more advanced technique is to do a double Brulé: using a heaping tablespoon(1.25-1.33tbsp) of sugar you do a rough crust on all the custards; you only melt the sugar enough to spread it across the surface but not enough to fully caramelize it, there will be obvious crystals still visible. then you make a second pass adding an additional tablespoon of sugar and full Brulé it. this results in a thicker more uniform crust, without overly heating the custards.