I was going through a very very traumatic time.... actually two traumatic times.
I lost my sense of taste.
After being sick for almost a month my body decided to torture me and not let me taste a GD thing for 6 days. 6 days is almost a week and that is like an eternity, let me tell you. A chef losing their sense of taste is like Richard Keith becoming a mute..... or like a singer having their vocal chords ripped out. It was a really hard time for me. I would look at the chocolate souffle that I had flawlessly created and taste it with my mind....... it was like a death sentence. A culinary tragedy of the worst kind. I missed out on pulled pork, birthday cake, BBQ, and everything else wonderful.
Then after finally making amends with my body and being able to taste..... I chopped my finger off. Ok... not my finger, but I chopped off half of my nail, which is the very best part of a girl's finger-- especially right before having a week off from school when I am actually aloud to have a manicure. Ugh. I am sorry to all of the people that I have previously made fun of for bleeding at school.... owwwwie. I should not have made fun of you (behind your back) for hurting yourself because it really hurts and I have a very bandaged up finger to prove it.
So, while all of this drama was going on I managed to make it through the last week of my baking class and ace my finals (duh)
Even better than getting A's on all of my finals was biting into a creme brulee and actually tasting it.
I really love creme brulee.
(really delicious) creme brulee.
1 quart of heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 cup of sugar, split
6 large egg yolks
Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out all of the pulp. Combine the pulp and the whole bean with the heavy cream in a sauce pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Take off of heat and let the cream and vanilla bean steep (infuse) for about 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until the color begins to lighten a little bit. This makes my arm hurt. Temper in the cream very slowly..... like a few drops at a time. Whisk mixture together and strain.
Pour the mixture into ramekins. Place the ramekins into a shallow baking dish or cake pan and fill the dish with enough water to come half way up the ramekins. Cover the dish with foil and place in a 325 degree oven for about 25 minutes until the custard has set, but is still loose in the center.... kind of like jello. Cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
Once cooled, dust the top of each creme brulee with sugar. Using a torch, scorch the sugar until evenly brown on top and very crispy. Let sit for a few minutes before serving so that the sugar hardens.
If you do not have a torch, you can put the creme brulees under the broiler in an oven, but this heats up the custard and does not work as well.