Cook
in
France
A relaxed friendly hands-on cooking holiday in the Dordogne, France
T: 0033 (0)553 302405             M: 0033 (0)622 655789             Bombel, 24290, St Amand de Coly, Dordogne, France              Google Maps

Crème Brûlée
A Classic French Recipe

Crème Brûlée

Crème Brûlée is one of those classic French dessert recipes that chefs seem to insist on "enhancing": adding bits of fruit, nuts or - worse still - oatmeal! I suppose their reasoning is that nobody could possibly be interested in such a simple dessert in these complex foodie days.

Well, they are wrong. Crème Brûlée is Crème Brûlée. It is beautiful, it is perfect and it doesn't need fiddling with. But, if you want to add foreign bodies to it, then it isn't Crème Brûlée anymore. Got it? Good! ;-)

Now, I think the easiest, and possibly least stressful way to caramelise the topping is with a blowtorch. However, as most people don't own one, and calling out the plumber at nine in the evening could prove a tad expensive, just place the sugared puddings under a very hot pre-heated grill until golden and bubbling (watch them like a hawk, though).

Remember to leave the desserts to rest for a while in order to let the sugar harden and the ramekins cool down.

By the way, the Spanish have a dessert - called Crema Catalana - which is essentially identical bar the flavouring: instead of vanilla, they use cinnamon. And in typically flamboyant Spanish style, they singe the top with a red hot branding iron!

NB. Although sometimes accredited to Trinity College, Cambridge, England (there, rather un-enticingly, called 'Burnt Cream'), Crème Brûlée was mentioned by Massialot (French) in the 1600's. It has even been suggested that it was invented in America. But, whatever its origins, there is no doubt that, had a dessert called 'Burnt Cream' been on the world's restaurant menus, it would not have achieved the classic French dessert status it enjoys to this day.

Serves six

Ingredients:

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to gas Mk 3/4 (115C°/250°F)

Pour the cream into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into the cream. Chop the empty pod into bits, and add these too.  Add the sugar. Bring to boiling point, then turn off the heat and put a lid on.  Leave to infuse for five to ten minutes.

Bring the cream back to boiling point, then pour over the eggs, whisking vigorously all the time until thickened - this indicates that the eggs have begun to cook slightly (you should have a smooth custard the consistency of double cream - a grainy texture means it's been over-cooked and you'll have to start all over again).

Strain through a fine sieve into a large jug, then use this to fill 6 ramekins about two thirds full.  

Place the ramekins in a large roasting tray and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up their sides. Place on the centre shelf and bake for 40 minutes to one hour, or until the custards are just set and still a bit wobbly in the middle.

Remove from the water and allow to cool to room temperature.

When you're ready to serve, evenly sprinkle one level teaspoon of caster sugar over the surface of each Crème, then caramelise with a blowtorch. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then enjoy one of France's greatest contributions to eating pleasure!

You have permission to publish this article and recipe electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the following byline is included (a courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated):

"Jim Fisher is an English chef who runs www.cookinfrance.com: relaxed friendly hands-on cooking courses in the Dordogne region of south west France. Contact him via: http://www.cookinfrance.com or Tel: 0033 (0)553 302405"

PRICES
(all prices include VAT at just 5.5%)
How to pay 
Terms and Conditions
All inclusive Five Day/Five Night residential cooking holiday
(per person, based on two people sharing a room):
€845

One, Two, Three & Four-Day multi-day courses
(Per person, per day.  Additional B&B accommodation available on request. Evening meal €17 per day - eat what you cook!):

€130
Non-cooking friend or partner
(Five day/five night - lunch @ €12 & dinner @ €17 per person per day):
€395

B&B accommodation
(1/2/3 Day courses - at venue or local B&B. Per person, per night):

€45
Return rail transfers (Per person. Agreed times only - see below. Email us prior to booking tickets):
€75

Single occupancy supplement (5 day/5 night) for an exclusive en-suite room all to yourself (waived when sharing):

€195
Cooking & Painting holiday
(Five day/Five night residential.  Day courses from €130):
€845

RETURN AIRPORT/RAIL TRANSFERS:
We pick you up in our own seven-seater vehicle each Monday afternoon and drop you off the following Saturday morning. Destinations include Limoges airport, and Brive la Gaillarde and Sarlat train stations (see details of our airport and rail transfers).

If you want a transfer at another time or on another day, please EMAIL US or Tel: 0033 (0)553 302405 in order to discuss the possibilities.

Transfers are conducted on a first come first served basis. Detailed dates and times are to be agreed with us prior to booking your travel arrangements, so please do not book tickets until you've agreed them with us.

ACCOMMODATION:
Accommodation is normally on-site, but, under exceptional circumstances, 1 & 2 day guests may be accommodated at a very pleasant nearby B&B 5km away.

NUMBERS:
The optimum number of participants on a course is six, but sometimes we have fewer than that and have occasionally taken up to ten.

ITINERARY:
The itinerary may be subject to change according to the seasons and local weather and is variable in order to take advantage of regional festivals and holidays.


"Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing
but food and water." (W.C. Fields)

 

 

 

 

 

 




       

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5 Day/5 Night Cooking Courses Include:

  • Expert hands-on tuition with British chef

  • All courses conducted in English

  • All cooking ingredients, equipment and aprons

  • A continental breakfast each day

  • Lunch each day

  • Dinner
    (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday)

  • Tea, coffee and wine

  • An evening meal on the day of your arrival

  • En suite centrally-heated accommodation

  • Recipe pack containing all the dishes cooked during your stay

  • Entrance fees to places visited

  • Private and secluded pool

  • Internet and Email


  • Want to be sure? Read our great testimonials

    Some of the things you'll be doing on the cooking course:

    Learn how to cook pastries, breads and soups

    Select and prepare the best fish and shellfish

    Butcher common joints of meat

    Cook classic French and Italian sauces

    Construct modern dressings

    Master the art of stylish contemporary food presentation