Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tahitian Vanilla Crème Brûlée (makes 5 ramekins)

I made this crème brûlée in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy.  Yesterday (10/29/12) by afternoon we had lost power.  I was working and I ended up closing the clinic 1 hour early and left for home.  On the way home everything was in complete darkness and I had to take a detour due to trees being down and blocking my normal commute.  When I got home my husband and I ate some pasta and crème brûlée by candlelight.  I used my handy blow torch to caramelize the sugar.  This morning we still have no power and the neighborhood is quiet.  Outside it feels tropical--60s F, cloudy with mild wind.  We ate our last crème brûlée and headed to McDonald's for coffee, sausage sandwiches and free WiFi.  Thank you McDonald's staff on 108 for your kindness, wonderful service and the free coffee refill!  

Tahitian Vanilla Crème Brûlée (makes 5 ramekins)


1 1/4 C heavy cream
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp white sugar (according to your taste)
1 whole Tahitian vanilla bean
3 C water (for steaming)
4-5 tsp turbinado sugar (raw sugar)
5 fresh raspberries, garnish


1) In a small medal or glass bowl, whisk yolks and white sugar lightly together, set aside.
2) Slice the bean in half lengthwise.  Scrape out all the black seeds and pulp by gliding the blade of a knife along the bean.
3) Place the scraped beans, pulp and empty bean shell into a small pot with cream over medium high heat.
4) Once the cream is just boiling turn heat down to a simmer, stir occasionally for 5 minutes.
5) Temper the cream and vanilla mixture one ladle at a time to the bowl with the yolks and sugar while constantly whisking the contents.
6) Remove and reserve the empty bean shell on a plate.
7) Heat a wok with water over high heat and add the bamboo steamer.
8) Place the ramekins on the bamboo steamer.  Pour each ramekin with the mixture.  Once the water boils turn heat down to medium low and cover the wok.
9) Steam for 25-30 minutes, remove each ramekin and let them cool completely.
10) Wrap each ramekin in plastic and refrigerate for 2-4 hours or overnight.
11) When ready to eat, sprinkle the turbinado sugar into the ramekins (according to your taste) and blow torch the top to caramelize the sugar.
12) Serve with fresh fruit and hot coffee (if you have any).

our back yard the morning after Hurricane Sandy
(lots of leaves and small branches on the ground
--no visible damage)
*These Tahitian vanilla beans have an amazing aroma.  According to the Tahitian Vanilla Company the perfume scents is said to be an aphrodisiac!  These are the best vanilla beans I have purchased to date.  I bought 10 whole cured beans from a lovely woman named Heigita at First Friday Wailuku (Maui) and I am very happy with them.  If you are interested in purchasing or learning more about Tahitian vanilla beans you may visit:  www.tahitianvanillaco.com.  They ship to all 50 States and Canada.
*If you are interested in baking the ramekins in the oven please see Durian Crème Brûlée post for instructions. 
*If you steam the crème brûlée on the stove top the creme will set soon after you have completed the steaming process.  I like to eat the creme warm.  They taste like custard.  If you are decreasing your sugar intake this is a great way to eat these.  
*If you have a steamer then you can use this instead of a wok and a bamboo steamer.
*Save the egg whites to make omelet(s) the next day.
*Rinse the empty vanilla bean shell in water and let it dry completely.  Once dry you can put this in your sugar container.  Your sugar will smell like vanilla!
*I normally use mint leaves to garish.  However, I did not have any but I had plenty of key lime leaves from my key lime shrubs that I grew from seeds.

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