North Carolina Peach Creme Brulee

This is the thing about peaches:  Every season, you generally get one perfect peach.  Therefore, I would like to advise you to taste a slice of all peaches you may use for this recipe, and if any of them are a perfect peach, then don't you dare use it for this recipe.  Just eat it plain and savor every bit.

 spoon hole/burrow hole

spoon hole/burrow hole

But if you eat it and you think... "Hmm, this could really be improved by large quantities of cream and sugar" then continue reading.

Basically here's the thing about creme brulee - you're burning sugar on top of pudding and it's awesome.  But for, like, one more hot second there are all these peaches that are just crying to be put in desserts.  If you're like me then you've probably already made approximately 47 pies/cobblers/crumbles/tarts.

 straight into my facehole

straight into my facehole

(Unrelated:  my computer really wants me to call it creme brûlée, which I'm sure is related to the fact that I'm on a Mac.  A PC is the working man's computer and definitely wouldn't judge me for my accents.  My mac is such a jerk.)

 twin creme

twin creme

When I was about nine and my brother was eleven we simultaneously became obsessed with making specific desserts.  I got very into strawberry shortcake (lame) and my brother got very into creme brulee.  He was not the cooler sibling, but he did have the cooler dessert making skills because my parents bought him a FLAME THROWER.  Very responsible parenting.  Anyway, my point is this:  Don't be intimidated by creme brulee.  If a nerdy eleven year old boy can make it, so can you.

I have no fancy equipment (untrue, I love fancy equipment) and I still made this fancy looking dessert.  If you have an oven, you can make this.  If you don't have an oven, you should move.  Basically, you cook the custard at a low temperature until it is set, then chill thoroughly.  I use a broiler to caramelize the sugar, which also cooks the peaches just enough that they're tender and delicious.

peach creme brulee

Adapted from Pioneer Woman, makes 3 servings

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 egg yolks (add the whites to your scrambled eggs or omelet tomorrow morning for fluffier breakfast experiences)
  • 1/3 cup sugar plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling
  • 1 excellent peach, sliced

Preheat oven to 325.  Combine cream and vanilla in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium/low heat.

Whip eggs with sugar at medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until they're pale yellow.

As soon as the cream simmers, take it off the heat and (very) slowly drizzle a spoonful into the egg mixture, continuing to mix. (This is called tempering and it's important because if you heat the eggs too quickly with the hot milk, they will scramble and then you'll have a great breakfast but no creme brulee, which is not what we're doing here.)

Dip a measuring cup in the hot cream and use that to continue to slowly temper the eggs.  After you've done about half the cream, you can pick up your speed, but still allow the cream to combine with the eggs.

If you don't have ramekins, select 3 smallish mugs or bowls from your collection of (oven-proof) accoutrements.  Divide the custard between your chosen vessels and then place those in a casserole pan filled with water (so that it reaches about halfway up the side of your bowls or ramekins.)  Bake for about 30 minutes or until it wiggles just a little in the middle.

Cool, then cover with plastic wrap and chill for 3 hours.

Turn on your broiler, with the rack as close to the top as it will go, still leaving space for the ramekin.

Place two slices of peach on top of each creme brulee, digging them in a little so they're flat with the top of the custard.  Liberally sprinkle each bowl with sugar.  Place bowls under broiler and let the sugar burn.  (This varies a lot according to oven, but I basically check mine every minute until the sugar is as brown as I want it.)

Place in the fridge, recovering with plastic once the ramekins have cooled.  Chill another 3 hours, then serve whenever you're ready!  (The longer you wait, though, the more likely you are to experience non-crunchy burnt sugar syndrome, which is the most feared creme brulee health problem in all the land.)

 burnt sugar crust game on fleek (appropriate slang usage or no?)

burnt sugar crust game on fleek (appropriate slang usage or no?)