I can't tell you how simple creme brûlée is to make. Much easier than making a cake or cookies for dessert. You don't need to get out your big mixer, everything stirs together. Even the ingredients are simple - as long as you have cream on hand.
When Mike and I were in Italy for our honeymoon, we treated ourself to one fine dining experience. For dessert, we had a milk chocolate creme brûlée with poached pears. I've recreated the creme brûlée for us many times in the last six years. I came across the Individual Heart Ramekins, $6
and thought it would be the perfect thing for a special Valentines dinner.
In the Barefoot Contessa's most recent book, she shared her version of Chocolate Creme Brûlée. I simplified her recipe (eliminating scalding the cream on the stove, used the microwave instead) and swapped the bittersweet chocolate with milk chocolate - my personal preference. Her original Creme Brûlée recipe can be found, here.
Milk Chocolate Creme Brûlée
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar + more for topping
3 cups of heavy cream
8 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Heat oven to 275 degrees. Heat the cream in the microwave until hot, add the chocolate and stir until melted. In a batter (pourable bowl) whisk the eggs and sugar together.
Slowly add the chocolate cream mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly - making sure not to add to quickly or it will cook the eggs. Add vanilla.
Place ramekins in a casserole dish. Pour chocolate mixture in ramekins.
Place on the oven rack. Using a small pitcher or measuring cup, pour water in the casserole until it reaches half way up the ramekins. (Doing it when it is already in the oven saves from sloshing the water into the chocolate mixture on the way to the oven.)
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until only a little jiggly. Remove from oven, let cool. When cool, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.
This is a great recipe for entertaining because it can be made in advance (even a couple of days, or the morning of), then torched before serving - if you are using a kitchen torch, then it is fun for the guests, too.