Lightened Up Dark Chocolate Crème Brülée

This year for Christmas, my sister-in-law gave E and I a kitchen torch.  It is pretty much the greatest thing ever.  I come up with every excuse possible to torch something, from deeming the pineapple on my pizza not caramelized enough, to addressing the unmelted corners of cheese on burgers.  If you don't have a kitchen torch, you should probably go get one.  Stat.  And start torching things.  Immediately.  

My first order of torch business was a traditional crème brülée, because isn't that what one makes with a torch?  Well it was wonderful, but when the primary ingredients are heavy cream and egg yolks, it's not something I will be making often.  Sorry E.  I then stumbled upon this lovely recipe-- dark chocolate crème brülée without any heavy cream.  I'll be honest, it is not as luxuriously creamy as traditional crème brülée and the chocolate formed a bit of a separated layer on top, but it was good enough I'd make it again.  Plus, how can you dislike crème brülée you don't have to feel terribly guilty about?

  • 2 cups 1% low-fat chocolate milk
  • 3.5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 teaspoons sugar
  • 6 4-ounce ramekins
  • Kitchen torch
  • 9x13" pan
  • Candy thermometer
  • Medium saucepan

1. Preheat oven to 300°.
2. Heat milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; add chocolate, stirring occasionally, until chocolate melts. Stir in extract.
3. Combine egg yolk and salt in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Divide mixture evenly among 6 (4-ounce) ramekins, custard cups, or shallow baking dishes. Place ramekins in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, and add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch.
4. Bake at 300° for 40 minutes or until center barely moves when ramekin is touched. Remove ramekins from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Cover ramekins, and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
5. Sift 1 teaspoon sugar evenly over each custard. Holding a kitchen torch about 2 inches from top of each custard, heat sugar, moving torch back and forth, until sugar is completely melted and caramelized.  Serve custards immediately.

Recipe from My Recipes.

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