Here I shall divulge the secret to winning over the hearts of dinner guests: creme brulee. A fancy, rich, but surprisingly simple dessert that is sure to impress and please the taste buds of almost anyone. Despite it's high caloric ingredients, portion size is limited by individual servings so it's alright to have on special occasions (you can tell them that a dietitian told you that). Many people have never had it, let alone made it at home so they don't know how easy it can be. The trick is in having the right tools. Ramekins and a small cooking butane torch are a must. (You must believe me on this point...I've tried to make it work every other way possible, since my first torch was very tempermental and left me in the lurch at inopportune moments. So don't go listening to people that say it works with lighters or under the broiler or else you will end up disappointed but good friends with the firemen down the street).
I recently tried a new spin on this favorite dessert of mine--chocolate creme brulee. It got rave reviews from all who partook, including declarations of being "totally worth every calorie" and "If I had to choose between being fat and eating something like this, I would have a really hard time not choosing this".
Here's my secret recipe:
Chocolate Creme Brulee
3 cups whipping cream
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
4 oz semisweet chocolate
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
pinch of salt
8 TBSP white granulated sugar
Scrape seeds from inside vanilla bean. Heat cream, vanilla, and cinnamon in saucepan to a simmer. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in bowl until thick. Melt chocolate and whisk into egg mixture slowly. Then drizzle cream into egg mixture while whisking. Strain and divide into custard cups or ramekins.
Arrange ramekins or cups in a glass baking dish filled with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake at 325 degrees for about 55 min. or until center is set. Remove from water bath and chill for at least 2 hrs but up to 48 hrs (hooray, something you can make ahead of time). Sprinkle 1 TBSP or so sugar on top of each dessert and use small torch to melt and carmelize the sugar (don't do this ahead of time because it will lose it's crunch). Garnish and serve! Makes 8 servings.
*my apologies that the garnished version is not pictured here (imagine a couple berries and chocolate curls atop that wonderful crunch layer.