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Friday, May 14, 2010

Crème Brûlée Ice Cream

Crème brûlée ice cream is two great desserts in one. Crème brûlée is a fantastic dessert just by itself. It is a rich, creamy custard that is usually vanilla-flavored. Right before it is served, a thin layer of sugar is spread over the custard and a mini torch is used to melt and caramelize the sugar. This ice cream flavor has been on my "to make" list for awhile. Last Friday, my wife and I celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary; and one of her requests was for me to make a Crème Brûlée Ice Cream. I was more than happy to grant her wish.

When you eat crème brûlée you have to break through the caramelized sugar layer to scoop into the creamy vanilla custard. In each bite, your mouth will have the soft silky custard texture and the crispy crunchy caramelized sugar -- it a great contrast to each other. The key to the ice cream is to replicate that crunchy caramel sugar topping to give you that distinct crème brûlée flavor.

To create my rendition of crème brûlée, I start off with a very custardy ice cream base.


7 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean split and scraped
1 pinch of salt
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Begin the base by warming the milk, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, sugar, salt and vanilla bean in a sauce pan over medium high heat. I basically doubled the amount of eggs I would normally use to create vanilla ice cream to give it a more custardy flavor. Once the milk and cream mixture comes to a low boil, temper the eggs yolks with the milk and cream. Pour the ice cream base back into the sauce pan and over medium heat bring the mixture up to 165 degrees, using an instant read thermometer. Make sure to stir the ice cream base constantly so that the custard doesn’t clump up and start sticking to the bottom of the sauce pan, which will ruin your ice cream base. Once the ice cream base reaches 165 degrees, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a heat-safe bowl. Add in the remaining cream and vanilla extract and the place the ice cream base on an ice bath for 1 hour. This will help stop the cooking process on the ice cream base and keep it nice and smooth. Refrigerate the ice cream base for at least 4 hours. Then follow your ice cream maker instructions.

To replicate the crunchy caramel sugar topping, caramelize 1/2 cup of sugar in a small sauce pan. When caramelizing sugar, remember to give it your full attention, because it can quickly burn and then your caramel is ruined. Let the sugar melt over medium high heat and constantly stir the sugar. When the sugar starts melting, it will slowly start to caramelize and turn brown. Once it reaches a nice amber color, pour the caramel over a piece of aluminum foil. You want to make the caramel as thin as possible so it will be easier to crumble into the ice cream later. Let the caramel cool for a couple of hours. You can make this ahead of time so that when your ice cream is done churning, you can mix the caramel pieces.

Once have your ice cream churning in the machine, now is a good time break up the caramel into tiny pieces. To do this I peeled the caramel away from the foil and then put the pieces in between wax paper. I then used a meat tenderizer to shatter the caramel into tiny pieces. Place the shattered caramel pieces into a bowl. Once the ice cream has reached a soft serve consistency, scoop the ice cream into a bowl and then combine with the caramel pieces. For 1 pint of ice cream, I used 3 teaspoons of caramel pieces. I feel that this is a good ratio; but if you like more or less caramel pieces, it is totally up to you how much to include. You can reserve large pieces of caramel for garnishing your ice cream.

I really enjoyed this ice cream. The extra rich and creamy vanilla custard with bits of crunchy and toasty caramel capture the essence of a great crème brûlée.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you for all of your comments and feedback. It is truly great to hear from you; and if you do try to make this dessert, please let me know how it turns out.



Ravenous Couple said...

wow, that's great..can we make our request for the party? ;) Nice animation btw!

Mai said...

I would like to have some of that please if you guys have some left...yum yum...My Favorite, from Lindt chocolate to ice cream...Bao you rock!

MaryMoh said...

Wow...that looks really delicious! I can just imagine the lovely flavour and bite to it. I must make and eat a lot of ice cream when summer comes.

Sere said...

omg that looks soooooooooooo delicious! like all your ice creams! gotta try it as soon as possible! :)

thanks for sharing, as always! :)


citronetvanille said...

Oh Bao, that is way too tempting! what an incredible ice cream, not to mention the nibblings of caramel on top! what a delight!

Jessie said...

Looks fantastic! Regular Creme Brulee is on my "to make" list and this is one more inspiration to try it!!


Gastronomer said...

Congratulations on five years! Woo hoo! Creme brulee ice cream looks really fabulous :-)

The Frozen Fix said...

This is amazing!

chubbychinesegirl said...

drooling.. i love creme brulee and ice cream! this is genious

Cinda said...

I love creme brulee! You have made a dream come true.

Joy said...

CREME BRULEE ICE CREAM?!?!?! Bao that is amazing, like AMAZING. Every time I come to your site I curse myself for not having an ice cream machine and then I'm tempted to run out and buy one just so I can try your recipes. I am trying to be patient...but it is hard -_-

Congrats on you and your wife's 5 year anniversary!!! Many wishes for a beautiful marriage for many years to come. I am sure you made your wife a VERY happy woman with this ice cream :)

Daydreamer Desserts said...

Congrats on your 5 year wedding anniversary! And good for you for granting her request, this yummy crème brûlée ice cream looks like it's to die for... way to go Mrs. Ngo!

Sylvia said...

What a delicious idea,it´s to die for. Congratulations on your 5th anniversary.

Foodessa said...

Just the crunchy caramel alone got my attention.
One of my Top 5 desserts happens to be C. Brulée. Therefore, I get the feeling your ice cream recipe will get made in my kitchen too;o)
Thank you for the lovely inspiration.
Flavourful wishes, Claudia

Jean said...

I love this! Creme Brulee was my favorite dessert for a time. I love the idea of an ice cream version.

Well, after a few months of sitting in its box, I'll finally break open my ice cream maker and use it this weekend. I'll be visiting your blog for a lot of inspiration!

Kathy Diaz (found baking) said...

Congrats on your anniversary! I just celebrated my 4th not too long ago.

To quote Rachel Zoe, "I die" was what I exclaimed when I saw you made Creme Brulee ice cream. That's custardy goodness to the nth power... in a good way of course. Yum!

lyndsay said...

ooooh. excellent, Bao!!! love the pics too.

Lizzy said...

This sounds extraordinary!!!

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