Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Crackin' the Crust on the Crème Brûlée

At the risk of sounding like a total hipster, in 2001 my favorite French director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, released a little flick that we Americans affectionately shortened to Amelie. A simple pleasure, shared by Amelie and myself, is “cracking the crust of a crème brûlée with the back of a teaspoon.” Ah, crème brûlée, you delectable dessert, your caramelized sugar stopping hiding that silky smooth custard, how I’ve missed you. But no more! I even fooled my omni friends with this little recipe. Everything I love about crème brûlée is mine again, and truth be told, I really really like working with cooking blowtorches.  

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

1 Package Soft Silken Tofu
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Pumpkin Soy Milk
2 Tablespoons Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
1 Pinch of Salt
About 3 Tablespoons sugar to brûlée

Preheat the oven to 325ºF

Drain and slightly press the water out of the tofu while you prepare the remaining ingredients and tools.

Prepare 6 ramekins and a shallow baking pan, cutting a piece of parchment to evenly cover the pan. Boil a kettle full of water.

In a blender or food processor, combine the tofu, sugar, vanilla, soy milk and salt. Once smooth, while the appliance is still running, whisk in the arrowroot.  Pour mixture into the ramekins and place them in the baking pan. Carefully pour the boiling water from the kettle into the bottom of the pan so the water comes 2/3 of the way up the sides of the ramekins, taking care not to splash water into the custard. Cover the pan with the parchment paper and slowly transfer everything into the oven. Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until set. The centers may have a slight jiggle, but will set as they cool. Remove the ramekins from the water and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, about an hour. To brûlée the custards, sprinkle enough sugar to evenly coat each top (about 1 tsp). Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Serve, and be sure to listen as you crack the crust with the back of your teaspoon.

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