Look What I Found In My Egg!
Now that I am hooked on blogging events, I get really worried when we lose our Internet connection. Such was the case last night and I got really nervous about not making the deadline for this month SHF "Surprise Inside". Now that it’s back, this is the third post I write about it. I write it up all the way to the end and hit the wrong button and lose the whole thing. I am getting frustrated. Nothing than a shortbread cookie can’t fix…feeling better already!
When I read the word "surprise" I thought "how fun" and I knew exactly what to make. Years ago at the restaurant we had a banquet for some big honchos from Grand Marnier and I had to make a bite size dessert plate incorporating the flavor. I’ll never forget that day: the anxiety of coming up with creative, intense and somewhat light spirited (no pun) desserts because these guys were gourmet big suits with a sweet tooth. I made bite size Grand Marnier cheesecakes, cream puff swans with Grand Marnier mousse and Grand Marnier creme brulee in egg shells. Out of all the desserts presented that night, the creme brulee got the highest praise. Not only did they taste great (if I may give myself a pat on the back) but they SURPRISED everyone by being baked and served inside an egg. After all, what is a creme brulee if not an (elaborated) egg custard.
I love creme brulee, but since the days I used to make 50-75 a day at the restaurant, I seldom serve one for dessert. Not because of the egg yolk/cream factor but because it is so simple of a dessert that I often overlook it. Really, it is not a complicated thing if you respect all the steps, and I often think that the reason why I don’t make them is because I have no willpower when I see one, and two, and three…you get the picture.
There are several ways to make brulees, I learn this one from the pastry chef I replaced at the restaurant. It worked everytime so I never changed it. You can flavor it any way you wish, in this case I did the good old Grand Marnier version.
For 8 shells:
1 cup egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup liquor if using
Prepare the shells: break the eggs you will need for the recipe very carefully. Separate the yolks and whites. Rinse the shells under cold water and leave to dry.
Prepare your pan: take a muffin pan and put a small piece of sandwich bread in the bottom of each cabity and make an indentation with your fingers to create a nest for the egg shells. Make sure your pan will fit in a large roasting pan.
In a bowl, whip the egg yolks and sugar until very pale. Heat the cream almost to boiling point. Slowly whisk the cream into the yolks, stirring constantly. Let cool 10 minutes and park in the fridge until completely cold. Pour the batter through a sieve to eliminate foam. Divide among the shells.Put hot water in the bottom of your roasting pan and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.
For the burnt sugar tops: mix equal part brown sugar and white sugar and sprinkle about 1/2 Tb. on top of each shells. Put under the broiler until nicely browned.