I love crème brûlée. It is seriously one of the most elegant, rich, and satisfying desserts I can think of…and as you guys know I can think of a lot of desserts. The thing is it can be a little intimidating and somewhat on the complicated side for many people..and it isn’t something most people will throw together to go with hot dogs for a quick dinner, you know?
I thought if there was a way to get the flavor of crème brûlée into a more do-able format for most people it would be awesome. And, since the cupcake craze is thankfully coming to an end I can now start posting cupcakes more often.
I know. I am ornery like that. I hate to be part of a trend…. so if I am doing something and it starts to trend I tend to move on to something else until it stops trending. Anyway, cupcakes are fast and easy…and they are do-able. Who is afraid of a cupcake? Nobody! I mean, when you had all those class parties in school what did the room mother bring? CUPCAKES!
So… crème brûlée cupcakes…. I used a poundcake batter, based on Dorie Greenspan’s Perfection Poundcake in Baking:From My Home to Yours. I wanted to keep the rich mouthfeel of the crème brûlée. I increased the vanilla because I wanted the whole experience to be rich, intense, amazing… just like with… you know. Crème brûlée. I added a quick grating of fresh nutmeg to intensify and add complexity to the vanilla flavor. Once they were baked I filled them with a rich crème patisserie. Then I topped them with vanilla buttercream and glazed salted pecans…
THEN I added turbinado sugar and got out my blow torch.. Yeah.. I don’t use a little kitchen one.. I use a big, blue workman’s torch. The problem I had was that in order to get the sugar to melt properly the buttercream also melted and slipped a little. I am wondering if I could get around that by using regular sugar or by freezing the cupcakes before I blasted them with fire?
If you love crème brûlée I think you will like these. I am sure you will. Keep them in the fridge. If you want the cream to be like a custard refrigerate for 4 hours before frosting and serving. If you want it to be like a sauce then serve them at room temperature within an hour of making them.
Crème Brûlée Cupcakes
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 c vanilla sugar
- a quick grating of fresh nutmeg… just a pinch
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 Tablespooons vanilla
- Scrapings from 1/2 inch piece of vanilla
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Prepare 18 muffin cups with cupcake liners and set aside
- Whisk the dry ingredients together
- Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy
- Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl often
- Add in the vanilla and vanilla bean scrapings
- Turn the mixer off and fold in the dry ingredients gently
- Scoop into cupcake liners and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until done
- Let cool completely
- Hollow out the cupcake with a small knife. The hollow should be about the size of your thumb. Set the top of the cut out aside.
- Eat the scraps.
- Fill each with the pastry cream.
- Gently lay the top piece back on the cupcake and press lightly.
- Frost with the buttercream.
- Sprinkle with glazed pecans and sugar.
- Caramelize with a kitchen torch.
No need to be afraid of this either… just think of it as pudding.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/4″ vanilla bean cut in half
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup[ organic cornstarch
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- Add the vanilla bean to the half and half and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
- Whisk the egg yolks in another saucepan with the cornstarch and sugar.
- Slowly add 1/4 cup of the hot milk, whisking constantly.
- Pour in the rest of the milk continuing to whisk.
- Place on medium heat and keep whisking while the mixture reaches a boil.
- Boil 2 minutes and remove from heat.
- Remove vanilla pod and scrape into the cream.
- Add vanilla and butter, stirring until completely smooth.
- Cover with a piece of buttered plastic wrap resting on surface and chill.
Butter- Cream Frosting
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Beat the butter and add the vanilla and salt. Beat until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
- Beat in the sugar until thick and creamy.
- Whip on high speed.
- Add the heavy cream as needed to thin and get the right texture.
These add not only a nice crunch, but a salty contrast to the sweet.
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 TBS butter
- 1 tsp sugar
- Sprinkle of kosher salt
- Melt the butter in the pan and add the pecans, salt and sugar.
- Toast, stirring constantly, do not let burn.
- Allow to cool before using.
Store in the fridge.
images: (c) marye audet 2010