Friday, May 4, 2012

Creme Brulee Pie

I woke up yesterday morning with the most intense craving for Creme Brulee.

This was actually pretty funny, since I'd never eaten Creme Brulee before, but nonetheless, there was the craving. Creme Brulee always seemed to me to be one of those super duper fancy desserts that you only order every once in a blue moon, like when you go on vacation. I wasn't even entirely sure I was going to like it (which is another reason for my never having eaten it before), but even though I wasn't sold on the dessert I still wanted to give it a try, partly because it looked so intriguing to me. And partly because I was very, very hungry.

There's a thing you need to know about making Creme Brulee. There are two kind of crucial kitchen items necessary to put the whole thing together. Ramekins and a kitchen blow torch for burning the sugar. I didn't have either. Drat.

So instead of the traditional Creme Brulee, I whipped up something I think you pie lovers out there will  especially enjoy. Are you ready for it? I present to you creme brulee pie. It has all the makings of a traditional creme brulee, but baked into a  9-inch flaky pie crust as opposed to the ramekins. Your gonna love this! As for the burnt sugar on top and my lack of a blow torch? Let's just say we winged it.

Creme Brulee Pie:
Recipe inspired by Ina Garten's Creme Brulee; Pie crust adapted from Ina Garten's perfect pie crust

For the crust:
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, diced and thoroughly chilled
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7-8 Tbs ice water
Stick your diced butter in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the chilled butter and begin incorporating with your hands until the mixture is mealy and resembles fine crumbs. Add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time and continue mixing with your hands until mixture begins to form a ball. Form the dough into a ball and let chill in a bowl in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Roll out on a flat, floured surface, rolling toward the edges of the dough. Once the crust is as big as you need it, fold it in half and fit inside of a 9 inch pie plate ad unfold. Pinch the edges together and freeze for 30 minutes, until thoroughly chilled.Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and place pie crust in oven lined with parchment paper filled with weights. (I used dried rice. )

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the weighted parchment paper and score the bottom of the crust. Place back into the oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until crust is golden-brown. Set crust aside and let cool. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.

For the custard:
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup white sugar, plus more for scorching top
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • a dash of salt
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, both sugars, and cinnamon. Meanwhile, heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan on medium heat until scalding hot. Stir the vanilla extract into the heavy cream. Slowly whisk the heavy cream into the egg mixture, a tiny bit at a time, to temper the eggs. Once all of the cream is incorporated, pour the custard mixture into the pre-baked pie shell and and bake at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until custard is set but jiggles slightly. Let come to room temperature, then refrigerate for two hours until custard has firmed up.

Now comes the fun part. Sprinkle the top of the pie with white sugar and get ready to caramelize it. Use a kitchen blow torch if you have one handy. If not, use what I used, a tiny torch used for lighting candles. Use at your own discretion!!! (I had Burt do this part, I was a little nervous.)

 And that, my friends, is how you make a gorgeous Creme Brulee pie. Sorry, had a proud kitchen moment there :) Serve immediately and enjoy!

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