21 October 2011

Frozen Creme Brulee Drink

Frozen Creme Brulee

Foodbuzz Tastemaker sent me this pretty nifty Tervis tumbler. It's shatter-proof, and it keeps your cold beverages cold and hot beverages hot. I drop stuff a lot accidentally, so this is the type of cup I need!

We were asked to show a drink in our tumblers. I couldn't think of anything hot I really wanted to do, so I came up with the idea of frozen creme brulee. What is creme brulee? It's a baked vanilla custard topped with a layer of sugar caramelized by a torch! Don't get too excited -- flame torches aren't required this time. Instead, I show you how to make a very easy caramel sauce. Cool?


To begin, I prepared my custard a day in advance because it needs to be chilled before using. This custard won't resemble the consistency of a pudding becuse that would be disgusting to drink. It needs to be thin and pourable because it will thicken once blended with ice. Think of it almost like an egg nog, though more runny.

If you've never made custard before, fear not. All you do is whisk egg yolks with sugar until light in color and thick and ribbony in texture.
Milk is heated over medium heat with a cinnamon stick for flavor. I used 1% milk because that's all I had, and I wouldn't recommend going any lower than that. You need the fat to help thicken the custard. Whole milk and 2% are best.
After the milk has heated to 160°, one cup of the hot milk is slowly whisked into the egg yolks. This tempers the eggs, preventing the mixture from curdling when added to the saucepan. The tempered eggs get whisked into the rest of the milk and the entire mixture cooks for about 5 minutes, just until thickened. Make sure you whisk constantly! Finally, it gets strained to remove any bits that have been curdled.

Simple enough? Let's continue on to the caramel sauce.

I used to have trouble caramelizing sugar. I used to have trouble making custards, both of which I was able to learn when I joined the Daring Bakers a long time ago. Trial and error, folks, and if I can do it, so can you.

I mention the Daring Bakers because I'm using the caramel sauce from one of the recipes I made with them when I was a member. It's simple to do and practically fool-proof.

caramel sauce

The two most popular ways to make caramel is the straight method, meaning you heat sugar in a saucepan, or the water method where you mix water with sugar. The latter is what we're doing today and will make the process much easier.

First, combine the water and sugar in a stainless steel saucepan over high heat. You can use any type of pan you have, but a stainless steel pans allows you to accurately judge the color of the caramel. Otherwise, you can spoon a little of the caramel onto wax or parchment paper to determine the color.
Caramel goes fast, so don't go anywhere! Once the sugar begins to bubble, it turns colors in a matter of minutes. First, it'll be a jaundice yellow. Once it develops a dark amber color, you very carefully whisk in more water to stop the cooking process. The original recipe says to pour the water through a whole in a sheet of foil because it splatters, though I just stood as far back as I could. Once the water is poured in, continue to whisk until smooth. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the caramel feels tacky. It'll continue thickening as it cools, so you don't want it too thick before you take it off the heat.

Pour it into a container and let it cool completely. That was easy, wasn't it!

When both components are ready, one cup of the custard is blended with one cup of ice. Pour it into your glass, then spoon 2 tablespoons of caramel on top. It tastes great when it's all mixed together!

Frozen Creme Brulee

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Frozen Creme Brulee Drink
Caramel sauce recipe by Shuna Fish Lydon

Serves 4-5

Custard ingredients -

4 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of kosher salt
4 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Caramel ingredients -

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water

1/2 cup water, for "stopping"

Directions -
  1. Prepare the custard: Pour milk into a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick, and heat to 160°. In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt until color is light lemony, and the mixture forms ribbons when it falls from a whisk, about 1-2 minutes (I just used a whisk and arm power).

  2. When the milk reaches temperature, remove cinnamon stick. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of hot milk into the egg yolks to temper. Pour the tempered egg yolks into the saucepan and reduce heat slightly. Whisk for 3 minutes. Strain custard into a container. Add vanilla extract and stir. Let cool completely at room temperature, then cover and chill overnight.

  3. Prepare the caramel sauce: In a small, stainless steel saucepan with tall sides, mix sugar and 1/4 cup water until mixture feels like wet sand. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly, and the sugar turns dark amber in color.

  4. When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water through a piece of foil with a smallish hole in the center. Caramel will jump and sputter about, and the foil keeps it from getting on surfaces and on you.

  5. Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.} My note: It doesn't need to be as sticky as honey because it will thicken upon standing, but it should feel slightly tacky. Cool completely.

  6. Prepare drinks: Pour 1 cup chilled custard into a blender, followed by 1 cup of ice. Cover, and blend until combined. Pour into a tall glass and top with 2 tablespoons caramel sauce. Enjoy!



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