Crème brûlée

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July with tons of fireworks, I know I did! It’s so beautiful to look at but it makes the loudest noise and creates such a scare with it goes off, nevertheless its still fun to play with fireworks!
This fancy named dish was made because I really wanted to make something special for my family since we went through a lot sweat and work to put on a large event. Plus, I had half and half just sitting in my refrigerator.

Crème brûlée
adapted from Williams-Sonoma
I found this recipe in a dessert cookbook from Williams-Sonoma. I haven’t made this in a while, so I totally forgot if I did something wrong or it was the recipes fault because It was not right when I first made it, the custard/crème was still very jiggly when it came out of the oven. Does not mean you cannot eat it, the dessert will be more like a creme caramel. I admit it might be my fault since the recipe tells you to pour the mixture through a sieve and for some reason I forgot about it and maybe half and half is not the right dairy to use. This recipe will have to be revisited another time.
Ah ha! I do remember that I definitely need to lower the sugar amount (the recipe below has the changed amount) cause I think this might give someone a head start into diabetes and never to use brown sugar for the sugary tops to be brûléed because it will be turned into a blackened mess and you will be sad…I know I was.
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Getting the ramekins ready in a roasting pan.
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Pour the hot cream into the egg mixture.
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Evenly pour the custard in each ramekin.
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I used a broiler to burn the sugar since I couldn’t find the torch.

2 cups heavy cream

6 large egg yolks

1/4 plus 4 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 300°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready and a large baking pan

In a 2-quart saucepan add the cream, stir to mix and set the pan over medium-low heat. Warm the cream until bubbles form around the edges of the pan and steam begins to rise from the surface. Remove from the heat and set aside for about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the 1/4 cup sugar until smooth, blended and mixture is pale yellow. Gradually add the cream to the egg mixture, whisking constantly until blended. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Divide the custard among four 5- or 6-oz. ramekins and place the ramekins in the prepared baking pan. Add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custard is just set around the edges, 35 to 40 minutes.

Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1 Tbs. of the sugar evenly over each custard. Using a kitchen torch or the broiler melt the sugar evenly and golden brown. If you are using the broiler, place the ramekins on a baking sheet and place 2-3 inches from the heat source, watch constantly and rotate baking sheet to brown evenly.
Serve immediately.

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French apple tart

A Happy belated Mother’s Day!! I hope everyone celebrated with their loved ones.
Now I did not forget my blog I have just been busy studying and studying for yucky tests and sadly I still have more. But today, and yesterday, I am taking a break. So on with the baking! This French apple tart is a dainty simple dessert that I saw Ina Garten make on tv and my oh my did it look delicious!

French Apple Tart
Adapted from Ina Garten
Don’t have a food processor, not to worry. I use a knife and cut them into tiny pieces then add them into the flour.
I find that the water you need to add in the pastry dough is never enough. Add more water till the dough comes together and if you add too much water, put a bit more flour to make it less sticky and watery.
If you have some oddly shaped sliced apples don’t worry about it, just place it in the same pattern and if there are tiny spaces left on the pastry, just make your own shape out of the apple slices. No one will notice because they will be too busy enjoy it!
When making this I suggest you sprinkle the sugar at least one inch away from the border of the pastry because the sugar and apple juices will melt and burn the edges of the pastry. Burnt sugar tastes kind of good but its no fun trying to pry it off the baking sheet.
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Apples, apples, apples…I think I cut too many but its okay, more for me to work with.

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Rolled out that dough.

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Apples laid out nicely in a type of fish scale pattern. Sprinkled with sugar and dotted with butter.

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Out of the oven and into my tummy.

Pastry dough

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar 1

2 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced

1/2 cup ice water

Apples

4 Granny Smith apples

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, small diced

1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam

2 tablespoons  water

For the pastry, place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.

Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baler. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices.  Sprinkle with the full 1/4 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don’t worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine! When the tart’s done, heat the apricot jelly together with the water and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper or foil. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.