Friday, December 11, 2009

Vanilla bean creme brulee with blueberries

Christmas as a child was magical.

All year my brother and I would wait with anticipation as heavy as lead for Christmas to come. When we spied bon-bons at the supermarket and festive wreaths adorning the grey spire of telephone poles and golden stars strewn across shop windows, our excitement would keep us as energetic as the Energiser bunny. But when the Christmas tree lights lit up our lounge room with fragments of rainbows we were beside ourselves with glee. There was just nothing like the night before Christmas; dreaming of Santa Claus, reindeers, elves and the gorgeous, colourful bow-tied gifts that would be waiting for us under the evergreen needles.

But eventually you get older, wiser and discover that just like the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, Santa Claus isn't the one bringing you the gifts, they are courtesy of your parents trips 4:45am trips to the car or a hidden room. After that the Christmas lights don't transfix you like they used to, the swarm of a Christmas stampede as everyone rushes to buy gifts becomes annoying rather than festive, and then the eventual task of having to buy gifts and make meals for others leads to the feeling that Christmas is a hectic, expensive time of the year. Sometimes it just makes you tired thinking about it. Perhaps it is because my husband and I are no longer children and neither do we have any. I am sure once we see the joy it brings our own children, some of that wonder will rub unto us and remind us of how happy Christmas made us as children, because after all, nothing brings out the child in you like your own child.

This year I am the one holding Christmas for my 30odd relatives. Whilst all my gifts-to-be are wrapped and underneath my 58% completed silver Christmas tree (hubby's pick) I still have to pre-order my copious amounts of meat and seafood for a Christmas Lunch fit for Dionysus himself. All of this organising has definitely frazzled me and I am desperately looking forward to Boxing Day the 26th of December, when I can put my feet up and just do nothing.

In the mean time I felt I should reward my organisational skills with a dessert I always order when out but never make at home -Creme Brulee.

ease: 4/5.
prep time: 25mins.
cooking time: 1 hour.
total: 1 hour & 25mins (plus at least 4 hours chilling time).

taste: 4/5. These would have been awarded a 5/5 when eaten the same day, however after an overnight stay in the fridge the custard left a powdery residue on my tongue after eating, nothing like the smooth, velvet custard from the day before. After only leaving them in the fridge for 4 hours they had a luxuriously vanilla flecked smoothness akin to satin sheets. I used vanilla sugar to sprinkle on top and then melt beneath my blue flame to form a deep, amber toffee crust that cracked beautifully beneath my spoon. The tart indigo berries complimented the sweet creme as beautifully as night compliments day. It is unfortunate that a longer stay in the fridge changed their disposition to 'gritty'.

would I make it again: No, only because it changed texture the next day.

recipe: Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee & Vanilla Sugar


  1. Wonderful memories!!

    Ahh, too bad that the brulee didn't taste as good the next day :(

  2. I miss that feeling too! It scares me when all I'm left with is mad shopping at the mall. Everything feels so commercialized now. I wish I could go back to when I was young and couldn't sleep on christmas eve because I was thinking about christmas day all night.

  3. A fantastic crème brûlée!



  4. hi, i've had bad creme brulee experiences in the past, both homemade and in restaurants, they always end up tasting sickeningly creamy and way too sweet rather than velvety. I might give this recipe a go, still have faith in the brulee!

  5. Lovely! I confess, I used the ramekins from my kit for my latest post, but I still haven't made creme brulee yet! There're even vanilla beans waiting in my pantry...shame on me 8).

  6. It looks beautiful, too bad it did not taste the same the next day! I wonder if something went wrong because I generally make the custards the night before, cover them up tightly and leave in the refrigerator, and then torch the sugar in front of the guests and it still tastes silky smooth.

    I love the Christmas season, but I agree that it's so hectic. We combat it in a few ways - we do 80% of our shopping online and we don't watch TV so we are not bombarded by loud advertisements. I still get excited like a child when we bring our Christmas tree home!