Maple Syrup Crème Brûlée

Recently, I was thumbing through Bistro Cooking at Home by Gordon Hamersley with Joanne McAllister Smart and ran across this recipe. Since I have three quarts of Wisconsn Maple Syrup from Maple Leaf Orchards in my freezer, I thought I’d try this recipe.

I was 1/4 cup short on the heavy cream, so I topped off the two cups with 2% milk. There was no noticeable difference in taste or texture. I also baked them off in brûlée ramekins instead of the traditional one as called for in the recipe. Consequently, the cooking time was only 45 minutes instead of 50 to 55 minutes as called for in the recipe.

1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
1 large whole egg
4 large egg yolks
½ cup maple syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
1 to 1 ½ tablespoons sugar

If using a vanilla bean, cut it in  half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and add it, as well as the pod halves, to the cream in a medium saucepan. Bring the cream to a boil and then remove it from the heat.

Combine the whole egg, the yolks, and the maple syrup in a medium mixing bowl. Slowly whisk about ½ cup of the hot cream into the eggs and wait a minute for the eggs to temper. Then whisk in the remaining cream and salt. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the vanilla bean and any bits of stray egg that may remain. If using vanilla extract, add it to the strained custard.

Heat the oven to 300ºF. Divide the custard evenly among 4 ramekins. Put the filled ramekins into a baking pan or roasting pan and pour enough hot water into the pan to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the custards in the center of the oven until the custards are just set with a slight jiggle in the center, 50 to 55 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and remove the ramekins from the water bath. Cool to room temperature for about 30 minutes before refrigerating for at least 4 hours.

Just before serving, sprinkle the custards with enough sugar for a complete, even coating, about 1 teaspoon each, then caramelize the sugar with a blowtorch or under the broiler.

Okay I had to take a bite! Yum Yum.

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