"Day in the Work Life": Pastry Chef

At the tender age of 27, Chris Hanmer is the youngest American to hold the title 'World Pastry Champion.'

Crème Brûlé
Recipe courtesy of Chris Hanmer

Amount | Measure | Ingredient

4 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Vanilla bean
1 Pinch Salt
8 Egg yolks
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Sugar
8 Tablespoons Brown sugar

Preparation Method

Preheat the oven to 300F. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the cream, vanilla bean and salt. Warm over moderate heat until the surface begins to shimmer, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, stir the egg yolks and sugar until blended. Pour in the hot cream and stir gently to avoid forming air bubbles. Strain the custard into a large measuring glass and skim off and surface air bubbles. (Rinse the vanilla bean and reserve for future use.) Place 8 3/4-cup ramekins in a roasting pan. Pour the custard into the ramekins, filling them up to the rim. Place the roasting pan in the oven and pour in enough warm water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 1 1/4 hours, or until the custard is firm around the edges. (It may still be wobbly in the center but it will firm up as it chills.) Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool.

Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours. (The custards can be prepared to this point up to 2 days ahead. If small pools of liquid develop on the surfaces, blot with a paper towel before proceeding.) Preheat the broiler or a salamander. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet. Sieve 1 tablespoon of brown sugar over the top of each custard in a thin layer. Using a spatula or knife, spread the sugar evenly. Broil the custards as close to the heat as possible until the sugar is caramelized, 30 seconds to 2 minutes; watch carefully. Let cool and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

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