Gift Question
  Re: (...)
I finally opened my goodies. When I forgot the salts on Christmas to take to Mom's, I decided to wait. Tonight's the night! It will be PERFECT with my crab dip, salad, and shrimp and grits tonight! Can't wait!

Anyway, I was checking online about making the vanilla extract. The "recipe" I found said to use one cup of vodka to three vanilla beans. Why would I not just fill my jar? The worst that could happen is it would take a little longer...right?

I also made a big ol' jar of vanilla sugar. I'm assuming you just keep adding the sugar to the jar as you use it, right?

Saturday is Creme Brulee night! I was going to do it tonight, but I figured with everything else we're having, it would be overkill. I want them to be the star! Wish me luck....sure wish I had a torch....would be so much more fun!


Now off to cook!
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Gift Question by Gourmet_Mom (I finally opened my ...)
Daphne, do you have the best Creme Brulee recipe in the world????
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: Gift Question by cjs (Daphne, do you have ...)
NOOOOO....I'm hoping SOMEBODY will enlighten me!

And the extract question? Somebody...anybody....tap, tap...This thing on?

Are you guys all out at a party without me?!?!?!?
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: Gift Question by Gourmet_Mom (NOOOOO....I'm hoping...)
Daphne, I've never done the sugar thing nor the vanilla, so I'm no help in that area. But, creme brulee, here is my favorite -

Serving Size : 8

4 c chilled heavy cream
2/3 c granulated sugar
Pinch salt
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
12 lg egg yolks
8 to 12 tsp Turbinado or Demerara sugar

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position & heat oven to 300°.

Combine 2 cups cream, sugar, & salt in med. saucepan; with paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into pan, submerge pod in cream, & bring mixture to boil over med. heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves. Take pan off heat & let steep 15 min to infuse flavors.

Meanwhile, place kitchen towel in bottom of large baking dish or roasting pan & arrange eight 4- to 5-oz. ramekins (or shallow fluted dishes) on towel. Bring kettle or large saucepan of water to boil over high heat.

After cream has steeped, stir in remaining 2 cups cream to cool down mixture. Whisk yolks in large bowl till broken up & combined. Whisk ~1 cup cream mixture into yolks till loosened & combined; repeat w/another 1 cup cream. Add remaining cream & whisk till evenly colored & thoroughly combined. Strain thru fine-mesh strainer into 2-qt. measure cup or pitcher (or clean medium bowl); discard solids in strainer. Pour or ladle mixture into ramekins, dividing it evenly among them.

Carefully place baking dish w/ramekins on oven rack; pour boiling water into dish, taking care not to splash water into ramekins, till water reaches 2/3 height of ramekins. Bake till centers of custards are just barely set and are no longer sloshy & temp. probe read 170° to 175° degrees, 30-35 min. (25-30 min. for shallow fluted dishes). Begin checking temp. ~5 min. before recommended time.

Transfer ramekins to wire rack; cool to room temp, ~ 2 hours. Set ramekins on rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, & refrigerate till cold, at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.

Uncover ramekins; if condensation has collected on custards, place paper towel on surface to soak up moisture. Sprinkle each with ~ 1 tsp. turbinado sugar (1 1/2 tsp. for shallow fluted dishes); tilt and tap ramekins for even coverage. Ignite torch & caramelize sugar. Refrigerate ramekins, uncovered, to re-chill, 30-45 min. (but no longer); serve.

Misc. notes: Separate the egg and whisk the yolks after the cream has finished steeping; if left to sit, the surface of the yolks will dry & form a film. The best way to judge doneness is w/a digital instant-read thermometer, but if baked in shallow fluted dishes, they will not be deep enuf for accurate reading.
NOTES : This recipe easily halves to make 4 brûlées.

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Man, I haven't made this for so long!
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: Gift Question by cjs (Daphne, I've never d...)
Thanks, Jean! I'm on it! I even have the right sugar!
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: Gift Question by Gourmet_Mom (Thanks, Jean! I'm o...)
Daphne, it depends on how much vodka would "fill your jar". Yes, you could use 2 cups of vodka per 3 beans, and it would take longer to steep (do you really want to wait that long?!), but it also would be weaker even after it is fully ready. I'd stretch it to only 1-1/2 cups vodka, if it were me.

I just looked up my recipe. I use 2 cups of vodka and 4 beans and allow it to steep for 2 months. Remember to split the beans before putting them in the jar!

oops, I meant that I use rum (not vodka)

my cooking adventures
  Re: Re: Gift Question by foodfiend (Daphne, it depends o...)
Thanks Jean and Vicci!
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: Gift Question by Gourmet_Mom (Thanks Jean and Vicc...)
I do the vanilla sugar all the time. I have 2 beans split in a jar filled with sugar. When it gets down to 1/2 full I add more sugar and shake vigorously to mix. When you make dishes that call for vanilla bean and you scrap out the goodness, add that to your sugar and pull out one of the older ones. It's good in coffee too because of it's subtle flavor and on cereal
  Re: Re: Gift Question by DFen911 (I do the vanilla sug...)
Good ideas, Denise! I think I'll have to buy me some cereal just to try it out! Usually, I use artificial sweetner for my coffee, but I think I may have to try my new vanilla sugar.
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: Gift Question by Gourmet_Mom (Good ideas, Denise! ...)
We used a half gallon of bourbon and five vanilla beans. We let it age about 5 months. If we had used more beans, it wouldn't have taken as long, but we had no immediate use for it.. When the vanilla is finished, we'll add the beans to sugar.
Practice safe lunch. Use a condiment.

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