You know you are a foodie when you are eating lunch, reading recipes and already creating your next meal in your head. There are of course numerous other signs, but the point is, nothing is stopping the love. But being a foodie does not mean that you will love or even enjoy everything you eat. The first time I had creme brûlée, it was a jello-like consistency and tasteless, purchased at the pastry counter at a gourmet grocery store. I was completely disappointed, figured that was that and it was just not my piece of cake. Later on I decided that was just the beginning of my search.
Disappointed but not hopeless, I continued to order it every time I came across a creme brûlée of any kind on the menu. Some tasted simply like a sweetened cream, while others had the same jello consistency i had first come across. I finally found the real deal at a local french cafe; creamy, luscious and rich without hinting a taste of scrambled eggs. The French are known for perfecting butter in their cooking but I think they got their eggs right too.
Creme Brûlée Tart with a Chocolate Crust
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 all-purpose flour + extra for dusting the work surface
- 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 10 Tbsp chilled, unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 large whole egg
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 1/8 tsp salt
- For the crust: in a small bowl, whisk together yolk, cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a food processor using a couple of pulses. Add butter to the dry mixture and pulse until mixture resembles course meal. With the machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough comes together.
- Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a rough disk. Wrap dough and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 48 hours.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator (if chilled for longer then an hour, let dough stand at room temperature until malleable). Unwrap and roll dough out between two lightly floured sheets of parchment paper into a 15-inch round. Loosen dough from the paper and transfer to an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Ease the dough into the pan, pressing gently to make sure it covers the bottom and sides of the pan completely. Patch up any tears or breaks in the dough with the excess and run the rolling pin along the edge of the tart pan to remove the remaining dough cleanly.
- Set the dough lined tart pan onto a baking sheet and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray one side of an an 18-inch square of foil with cooking spray and press greased side down the frozen tart shell. Fold the excess foil over the edge of the pan and fill with pie weights. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Taking the tart shell out of the oven, remove the foil and pie weights. Set on a cooling rack, reducing the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
- For the filling: measure out milk and cream into heavy medium saucepan. Using a paring knife, split vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out seeds, adding both pod and seeds into the saucepan. Heat saucepan over medium heat until hot, then set aside to steep for 30 minutes.
- Whisk together yolks, egg, salt and 6 tbsp of sugar in a quart measuring cup. Add to cream mixture and continue to whisk until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve back into measuring cup.
- Put the tart shell (still on the baking sheet) into the oven and pour the filling into the shell. Bake until custard starts to set but still wobbly in the center, 25-30 minutes.
- Remove tart from sheet pan and allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, remove the tart from the pan and continue to cool for an additional hour. Just before serving, sprinkle the two remaining tbsp of sugar over the top of the tart and using a blowtorch, caramelize the sugar until golden brown. Serve after 5 minutes.