Recipe: green tea crème brûlée
I was feeling quite low Saturday morning. Kaweah’s moderate improvement went down the tubes. She barely moved, cried in pain anytime we tried to help her get up, and looked so depressed. It was completely unlike her, our normally happy little girl. Kaweah has a fairly high threshold for pain and we were both very concerned. Jeremy and I would stroke her belly to comfort her and look at one another wondering if this was it. We called our vet as soon as he got into the office and he added some more pain killers to the regimen of muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Within an hour of taking her meds, she was back to her old self – wandering around the house, wagging her tail, holding her head high, happy.
A college friend of mine had mentioned that he has traction socks for his dog on their hardwood floors. So I went to the store and picked up the only similar thing in stock. They’re little rubber booties. I wasn’t sure they would work, but I was willing to try anything.
They don’t bother Kaweah like her old hiking booties did (the ones she wore once, in the house and then never again). I think that’s partly because she has lost a lot of feeling in her hind paws. They do offer her incredible traction on our floors and she’s been walking around like a champ these past two days. Of course, we had to modify the booties – a clip at the tops so as not to cut off circulation in her ankles, and several holes on the tops and bottoms because her feet were getting hot and sweaty.
she’s hasn’t been this mobile in over a year
they’re like a doggie version of crocs
The combination of the non-slip booties and pain meds has turned Kaweah into a younger version of herself. We can’t get over how happy she is padding about the house asking to be let out on the deck, asking to be let back in (and so on and so forth). When she walks, the little rubber booties sound like clown shoes squeaking on the floors. As I look to see where my little clown is, I usually catch her tail wagging high in the air as she squeak-squeak-squeaks around the corner looking for wayward treats.
Kaweah’s recovery was just in time because my parents and my aunt (who is visiting my folks) came up to our house for dinner Saturday evening.
mom and her sister
one of five courses: butter-sautéed chanterelles in cream, white wine, and garlic with bacon on pappardelle
I wanted it to be a special dinner since it was my aunt’s first visit to our house and probably the last time I’ll host my parents this summer before they head home to Virginia. As most of my friends know, I serve multiple desserts to dinner guests. I love variety and I want guests to feel like they have a choice… or a sampler! Knowing that my dad is rather fond of crème brûlée, I went for a slightly Asian version: green tea crème brûlée.
matcha green tea powder, eggs (yolks), pinch of salt, sugar, vanilla, cream
add sugar to the yolks
and the matcha powder
If you keep matcha powder around a while, it will lose its lovely green color rather quickly. I bought this batch a couple of months ago and it is already a paler green. So if color is important to you, buy it fresh. The nice thing about this recipe is that making green tea crème brûlée is practically the same as making regular crème brûlée.
whisk until thick
add cream and vanilla
The toughest part of the entire process is probably the water bath. Do you pour the hot water into the pan when it is in the hot oven or do you pour the hot water into the pan first and then cautiously lower it onto the rack in the oven? The former runs the risk of spilling water into the ramekins if the water is poured into the pan with enough momentum (water is an incompressible fluid and conserves momentum) – i.e. it splashes. The latter involves moving a volume of hot liquid into a hot oven and all manner of scenarios can play out where you introduce a little momentum into the system and you wind up splooshing hot water on yourself and dropping the whole pan and oy… But once the pan makes it safely into the oven, you’re pretty much home free.
divide the custard among the ramekins
I forgot the part where you skim any foam off the tops of the custard. Honestly, I don’t think it matters much because I’m going to cover that surface with sugar. Give the custards time to chill. I really recommend an overnight stay in the refrigerator if possible. When you are ready to serve, bring the custards out of the refrigerator and sprinkle a couple spoons of sugar on top. Use whatever sugar you like. Real sugar. Don’t use that substitute crap – it won’t caramelize. Don’t skimp either or else the shell will be too thin and will dissolve before you can even eat it. At our elevation, we have found the little kitchen propane torches to be completely useless. So we have the standard propane torch you can get from any hardware store. Don’t have a propane torch? Never fear, you can use the broiler on your oven to caramelize the sugar (just keep an eye on it).
sprinkle sugar on the tops after chilling the custards
Crème brûlée is something you need to make ahead of time, but isn’t terribly labor-intensive and is a big crowd pleaser. The best part (in my opinion) is running around with a propane torch! Okay, I don’t run around with it – we are VERY careful not to burn anything down… like the state of Colorado. I just love my torch. And the dessert itself? It’s wonderfully green tea-ish and deceptively light and delicate. A perfect ending to a special dinner.
top with fresh (organic) berries
dreamy crunchy creamy
Green Tea Crème Brûlée
based on this recipe
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsps matcha green tea powder
3 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar (I used turbinado)
Preheat oven to 300°F. Set a kettle of water on the stove to boil. When it comes to a boil, remove from heat and set aside. Whisk the yolks, sugar, and matcha powder together on high speed until the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes thick and turns a pale greenish yellow color. Add the cream, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until blended. Strain the custard into individual ramekins or vessels. Skim any foam off the tops. Place the ramekins in a large roasting or baking pan (something big enough to fit the ramekins so they aren’t touching each other or the sides).
If you are particularly coordinated, set the pan on a rack in the middle of the oven. Carefully pour the hot water from the kettle into the pan taking care not to splash water into any of the custards. Fill the pan with enough water to cover at least an inch of the ramekins. If you aren’t terribly coordinated, you can pour the hot water into the pan BEFORE you set the pan in the oven, although that can result in splashing of hot water (and the pan gets heavy). Either way, just be careful. Bake the crème brûlée for 40-50 minutes (mine took 40 minutes) until just set. It will wobble in the center a little, but it shouldn’t wobble a lot. Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Let the ramekins cool in the water bath. Remove from the water bath and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving (but overnight is recommended). When you are ready to serve, sprinkle 1-2 tbsps of sugar on each custard (depending on how much crust you want and how wide the surface area of the ramekin is). Burn (caramelize) the sugar with a propane torch or under a broiler until the sugar is melted and browned. Makes ~6 ramekins.
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