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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You Have Not Because You Ask Not.

My husband and I were stationed in Fairbanks, AK from 1982-86.  We were young with no kids at that point.  Moving from MS to AK was an adventure for sure!!

We had a favorite restaurant there in Fairbanks that had a colonial English feel to it from the costumed waiters and waitresses to the food served in pewter like dishes.  The food was homey and hearty like one would expect of English fare, but it was the featured dessert that kept us coming back time and again.  They would even give you the recipe if you asked for it.

I was on the hunt for recipes even then and I was overjoyed to discover the recipe for “burnt crème” or crème brulee’ as the French folks might say.  I’m from Paris, MS…not Paris, France, so burnt cream it is for me. It is easy to make, economical, and so rich that one serving satisfies my sweet tooth.

I never make this recipe that I do not fondly remember that time in my life, and the friends I shared this decadent dessert with at Clinkerdagger’s, Bickerstaff, and Pett’s-that English themed eatery.  I was saddened to discover that this establish no longer exists, but grateful that they were willing to share this recipe with anyone requested it.

Many restaurants guard their recipes, and understandably so, but if I like a certain dish, I usually do ask if they share.  You just never know.  I have a few in my recipes in my files that came from those very sources.  I guess the scripture verse that might apply here is James 4:2.  “You have not because you ask not.”
Burnt Cream

2 c. whipping cream                                 1/2 c. sugar
4 egg yolks                                               2 tsp. vanilla (Mexican, if possible)

Heat cream until bubbles form around edge of pan. Beat egg yolks and sugar together until thick, about 3 minutes. Whisk a small amount of the heated cream into the egg yolks, gradually adding more until all is incorporated. Add vanilla.
Pour about 1/2-2/3 cup. into custard cups.  Place in large pan or casserole dish. Add enough water to the pan, bringing water level about 1/2" up the sides of the cups.
Bake in a preheated 350° oven about 45 minutes or until set. Cool to room temp, then cover and refrigerate.
For authentic creme brulee-at serving time, sprinkle extra sugar on top and broil until it melts and is golden brown. As the sugar cools, it will form a sweet crust you must break through to enjoy the creamy custard.   I prefer it plain, garnished with mandarin oranges and mint. Yield: Four-1/2 cup servings

Note: I have successfully made this with half and half instead of cream and also fat free half and half with Splenda as the sweetener for those with lower fat/calorie restrictions.

I have also baked this in glass punch cups, making sure to allow the custard to cool for 20 minutes in the water bath, then removing it to cool completely before refrigerating.

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