Why You Should Give This Recipe a Try
If you’re looking for a foolproof way to make perfect crème brûlée every time, this sous vide recipe is just what you need. Here’s why you should give it a try:
- Achieve the perfect custard consistency without fail.
- Make a large batch of crème brûlée with a spacious container.
- Say goodbye to cracked glass jars forever.
- Avoid overcooking or scrambling the custard.
- Store your crème brûlée for up to two weeks in the fridge.
- Make this delicious dessert even without canning jars.
With this sous vide method, you’ll have the confidence to create the creamiest and most delicious crème brûlée with ease.
What Exactly is Sous Vide?
Sous vide is a cooking technique where food is placed in a vacuum-sealed bag or jar and then cooked in a precisely regulated water bath. The term “sous vide” means “under vacuum,” but you don’t necessarily need to vacuum-seal your bags. A leak-proof bag works just as well.
How Sous Vide Works for This Recipe
No More Overcooking or Curdling
With traditional methods of cooking custards, overcooking can result in curdling. This happens when the custard is cooked for too long or at too high a temperature (over 185°F / 85°C). However, with sous vide, this is no longer a concern. By setting the water bath temperature to around 179°F, your crème brûlée will never exceed this temperature, resulting in an incredibly smooth and creamy texture every time.
Extended Shelf Life
Typically, crème brûlée made in the oven can only be stored for up to five days in the fridge. However, when you make crème brûlée in 8 oz canning jars using the sous vide technique, the vacuum seal allows you to store them for up to two weeks. This makes sous vide crème brûlée an excellent choice for making ahead of time.
How to Prevent Jars from Cracking
If you’ve experienced the frustration of cracked jars when using the sous vide method, there are two common reasons why this happens:
- Thermal Shock: When cold glass jars are submerged in hot water, the rapid change in temperature can cause thermal shock and lead to cracking.
- Excessive Pressure: It’s crucial to ensure that the jars are not closed too tightly. This allows excess air to escape as the jars are submerged, preventing pressure build-up.
To prevent thermal shock, you can either preheat the crème brûlée mix to warm up the jars or place the jars in the water before it reaches the desired temperature, allowing them to gradually warm up. As for ensuring the jars aren’t tightly closed, a general rule is to close the lids in a way that allows you to open them easily with just two fingertips.
The Equipment I Use for Sous Vide Crème Brûlée
To make your own sous vide crème brûlée, you’ll need a few essential items:
- Anova sous vide circulator: I personally recommend the classic Anova version, but there are other excellent brands available, such as Joule.
- Plastic container: I use different sizes depending on my needs, but a 12 qt Rubbermaid container is a great starting point.
- Wide-mouth canning jars: I prefer the shorter and wider Kerr or Ball wide-mouth glass canning jars, which are perfect for sous vide desserts.
- A blow torch: This tool is ideal for caramelizing the sugar on top, giving your crème brûlée that perfect finish.
How to Make Sous Vide Crème Brûlée
The process of making the crème brûlée custard is similar to the classic method, but with a sous vide twist. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Whisk together egg yolks and sugar until they form a thick paste.
- Add cream to the mixture and whisk to combine. You can heat the cream first to infuse flavors, but it’s not necessary for the texture.
- Divide the custard evenly among six 8 fl oz jars. Use a blow torch to eliminate larger bubbles on the surface, creating a smoother appearance.
- Close the jars using the fingertip tight method mentioned earlier, and prepare your sous vide circulator.
Cooking with Sous Vide
- Attach the sous vide circulator to your container and fill it with hot tap water.
- Set the temperature to 179°F / 82°C and gently lower the jars into the water bath. Stacking the jars is fine as long as they are fully submerged.
- Once the water reaches the set temperature, start the timer for 1 hour. Use features like beeping or notifications on your circulator to keep track.
- After 60 minutes, remove the jars from the water and tighten the lids with a cloth napkin. As they cool, the jars will seal. Let them chill in the fridge overnight or up to two weeks.
- When ready to serve, gently pry the lids off the jars with a spoon to break the seal.
Caramelizing the Sugar on Top
There are two methods you can use to caramelize the sugar on top of your sous vide crème brûlée:
Blow Torch Method
- Sprinkle an even layer of sugar over the custard, ensuring coverage without thickness gaps.
- Use a blow torch to carefully and evenly caramelize the sugar, creating an amber-colored surface with dark spots.
- Allow the caramel to cool and harden for 1-2 minutes before serving.
Stove Top Caramel
- In a non-stick pan, heat 1-3 tsp of sugar per custard portion over medium to medium-high heat.
- Tilt and shake the pan as the sugar melts and caramelizes, ensuring even coverage.
- Reduce the heat when the caramel darkens, cooking until it turns amber. Turn off the heat.
- Immediately pour a small amount of caramel onto the surface of each custard, gently swirling the jar to cover the entire surface.
- Keep the pan on the warm (but off) stove to maintain the fluidity of the caramel, as it will thicken as it cools.
How to Enjoy Crème Brûlée
The beauty of this simple yet elegant dessert is that it speaks for itself. With the sous vide technique, you can always expect perfectly creamy results. The anticipation of cracking into this dessert is just as satisfying as savoring its classic counterpart, knowing that the texture will always be flawless.
So go ahead and give this foolproof sous vide crème brûlée recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed!