old fashion's + creme brûlée = yes.
Happy Monday guys! This was a great weekend - the weather was amazing and it was really the perfect weekend to just chill and enjoy everything. My current go-to favorite drink is the Old Fashion. They have recently come back in a big way and you can find them at many bars around Chicago now but my love affair with them started in Laguna Beach when I had a girl's week with my fam. This was when I was living in Marina del Rey in California and my cousin lived in Orange County. They also had a little place near Laguna Beach and some of my favorite cousins and my sister decided to make a week of it with a just girls hang out. During that trip, my cousin took us to her favorite bar for her favorite drink there - the good ole Old Fashion. I can't remember if I have ever had it before but it was probably the best Old Fashion that I have had even to this day. The bartender just had it down and was a bit of a magician. To watch him actually make it was a bit of bar-porn if I am being honest! That bar unfortunately is not there anymore but the memory of that Old Fashion still lives strong.
My love affair with creme brûlée started in Paris (of course!). While out exploring Paris for the first time, I wandered into this little cafe by the Seine River and casually ordered a cappuccino and creme brûlée because...why not?! Well nothing prepared me for the life changing experience of that treat! I wish I could say I could possibly find that here in the states but sadly, and this holds true in other countries as well, we just don't get the same ingredients here. Everything is pasteurized or even ultra-pasteurized so it just will never be the same. So what's a girl to do? I guess just combine her two favorite things!!
Well that mingled with me getting a new toy, a mini torch, was basically all that it took for me to dive right into this concoction. So here is a recipe for my new fav dessert...total decadence! Now if you have never made creme brûlée before - you would be shocked at how easy it really is to make. A very simple custard infused with whatever flavor you want. I added a vanilla bean because it was getting old and brittle so I didn't want to waste it. I just ground it up and added it to the cream to infuse it with flavor but really, with the bourbon in this recipe, you could skip that altogether. I just really love vanilla!
Old Fashion Bourbon Vanilla Creme Brûlée
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk (whole or 2% would work)
1/3 cup sugar, plus about 2 tablespoons for caramelizing the tops
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (use just the seeds)
4 large egg yolks
50mL Bourbon (a bourbon you would use in an Old Fashion - I used Woodford Reserve Double Oak)
1 tsp fresh orange zest
4 dashes of Orange Bitters
1 tsp Luxardo Cherry Juice (optional)
4 orange peels (optional for garnish)
1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Place your ramekins in a deep sided baking dish. Heat water in a saucepan or teakettle for a water bath for the creme brûlées. 2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream, milk, 1/3 cup sugar, and vanilla bean seeds.
3. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, bourbon, orange zest, bitters and cherry juice, if using. When the cream is warm (but not boiling), remove it from the heat and gradually pour it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a large measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring. 4. Pour the custard into the gratin dishes or ramekins. Add the hot water to the pan to the baking dish, until it reaches halfway up the outsides of them making sure to not get any water in the custards. 5. Bake the custards until they are just set when you jiggle them. Mine took 40 minutes but depending on your oven and the size of your ramekins, check on them after the 30-35 minute mark. 6. Carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath (use tongs or a dish towel as they will be super hot) and cool on a wire rack. When cool refrigerate the custards until they are completely chilled - at least 3 to 4 hours but overnight also works (just cover them). 7. To caramelize the custards, sprinkle each custard with enough sugar to cover the top. Use a torch to caramelize each custard (fun!). If you don't have a torch, you can put the ramekins back in the baking dish under the broiler. Just keep an eye on them because it happens quick and you don't want them to burn! Let the caramel harden and serve.