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French Fridays with Dorie: Crème brûlée

Oh dear. I was SO excited for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe. SO excited. Crème brûlée – our absolute favourite dessert. The one we have to order in every restaurant we can find it in when we are travelling in France. I’ve made this before, with much success. I had no reason to doubt that Dorie’s recipe would be a smashing success so I invited people over for a “blog food dinner” (where they get to eat an odd assortment of food I need to cook for blog posts) and this was to be the pièce de résistance.

Sadly, this was not meant to be. I mean, it looked ok. And tasted wonderful.

But it never set.  This recipe calls for cooking them at a very low temperature (200˚F) for 50-60 minutes without using a waterbath. And even after 1 hour and 10 minutes, it never set. Well at least not in the dishes I have used with much success before.  In thicker ramekins, with a tiny amount of the mix, it set ok – and I only used those because I had a tiny bit of leftover mix but they were way too tall to be proper crème brûlée dishes.  But in the proper, shallow dishes I have used before (with a higher temperature and a water bath), these never set. Even after over a day in the fridge. Even after being in the freezer. Even after re-cooking them (I KNOW – so wrong but I was desperate). So, we had dessert soup.

I did some research and found a lot of people in the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group had had some issues with this recipe as well (of course I did this after I had already made the dish) – I wish I had read that before I made this.  Next time? I would definitely cook them at a higher heat. Failing that, I might try adding a water bath.  I mean these were tasty enough. Just soupy :(

(sorry Dorie. I feel bad…. but hey, in 61 weeks, one recipe that didn’t work out is ok.  Yes people 61 weeks. I have not missed one!)

Want to join in the fun? Join French Fridays with Dorie here.

French Fridays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs, rather, we prefer if you purchase Around My French Table for yourselves (trust me, you definitely want this book!) which you can do here on Amazon or Amazon Canada. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.  Go on, treat yourself and join us in 2012!

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38 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Crème brûlée

  1. Tricia S. December 23, 2011 at 05:42 #

    Wow- 61 weeks – Phew that is amazing :) And your creme brulee is absolutely gorgeous, whether it set or not. I am not sure what the deal is on that one but that is because I am a novice preparer and a seasoned eater. I ordered this so many times in France the last time Nana and I went (and consuming huge meals, or in lieu of a meal….) that I think I was embarrassing Nana. Your opening shot with the berries brought a huge smile to my face- it was so perfect looking ! We have enjoyed your comments and your posts this year and look forward to exchanging more with you in 2012 – happiest of holidays from Nana and I !!!

  2. Rose December 23, 2011 at 06:37 #

    Oh dear, that is very sad. I hate it when I’ve followed the recipe exactly and it fails to come out. But 60 out of 61 is a pretty darn fantastic track record and kudos to you for not missing a single one. I am still working on catching up with recipes which were completed before I joined.

    I hope that the rest of your holiday cooking & baking comes out perfectly.

  3. Cher December 23, 2011 at 08:00 #

    It certainly looks pretty, even if it didn’t come out quite the way it should have. I definitely will be curious to see how it works for the rest of the crew (or what they did to over come it).

    I have really enjoyed getting to know you as well over the past year. (Thanks to that tarragon chicken post, there is now a copy of Essential Pepin sitting on my overflowing book shelf.)

    Have a wonderful holiday!

  4. Emily @ Life on Food December 23, 2011 at 09:29 #

    I asked for this book for Christmas. I hope I get it. 61 weeks is something to be proud of.

  5. Debbi Hook December 23, 2011 at 09:33 #

    Such gorgeous presentation – love the red and white raspberries. So sad that it didn’t set…that is just heartbreaking! Oh well, been there, done that…for a party, with my dessert as the birthday girl’s requested dessert. It didn’t set (it was a tart). I was so embarrassed…but it tasted fabulous…so we all ate runny tart. It will be interesting to see how the other bloggers fared.
    Ciao!

  6. Eileen December 23, 2011 at 12:51 #

    Bummer! I assumed that mine didn’t set b/c the liquid was too deep in a regular ramekin. I don’t have actual creme brulee dishes. I’m a bit relieved to hear that it didn’t work in the proper dish, either, though I do wish it had come together for you in the end! It looks pretty, at least.

  7. Paula December 23, 2011 at 13:48 #

    Congratulations on 61 completed weeks! That is awesome Mardi. I can understand your disappointment with these not setting but I’m happy that they still tasted good. What really matters is that you had a lovely dinner party gathering with friends.

    Last week I made my annual Christmas Peanut Brittle but decided to use a new to me recipe. The mixture was the perfect colour and looked beautiful in the pan. Unfortunately, it didn’t set either, not after sitting in the fridge half the day and even not after being put in the freezer overnight! Such a waste of good nuts!

  8. Belinda @zomppa December 23, 2011 at 14:28 #

    A classic! That is one beautiful dessert. Have a wonderful holiday!

  9. Dessert By Candy December 23, 2011 at 15:37 #

    What a disappointment it was for you especially with so much anticipation! If it is any consolation, I baked mine for 6 hours. Yup, not a typo. But it was unintentional. It set beautifully. LOL

    Gorgeous photos though!

  10. Ambika December 23, 2011 at 20:37 #

    The creme brulee looks fab!! Awesome photographs! Merry Christmas!

  11. Confessions of a Culinary Diva December 24, 2011 at 00:58 #

    I love your ramekins – they are so pretty! 61 FFWD and only one not so hot is a really great track record. Your photos look great. I thought that it took a little too long to bake and definitely was not ready at the 50-60 minute mark, and the lack of a water bath surprised me too.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts in the new year, it’s one of my favorite blogs to read!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  12. Elaine December 24, 2011 at 10:57 #

    Mardi, yours may not have set, but they look gorgeous! And I am sure they tasted wonderful. Thank you for sharing your research on this on Twitter – I would not have known or thought about the temp or time since I have never made these before. I miss the Ps and Qs that used to be posted for each recipe because we all can learn from shared experiences. I hope you have a lovely Christmas!

  13. alice December 24, 2011 at 23:12 #

    WOW!! I have missed three since I started, but I came in about 8-9 months into this “project” :) It has been a delicious journey though!

    At any rate, Im glad to see you, a seasoned pastry chef, having issues with getting the custard to set too!! I cooked mine at 200F for about an hour and it seemed set, it barely jiggled. You could hardly see it, but after cooling it and waiting overnight, it turned out to be more of a pudding than a proper creme brulee. It wasn’t too disheartening, although I didn’t serve it to anyone other than my family – but I will try it again at a higher temperature, since the rest of it was so easy to prepare!
    Did you put jam at the bottom of yours??

  14. Liz December 25, 2011 at 09:35 #

    Oh, I’m so sorry these didn’t set for you! You have the presentation down perfectly…love your raspberry toppings! Here’s to the next 61 weeks, my friend!!! Cheers~

  15. Mr. Neil December 26, 2011 at 11:07 #

    Well my pairing would be a couple drams of neat single-malt from Islay, to help drown your sorrows. The hint of caramel would even help wash down the soup. ;-)

    A disaster, but I know there’ll be another attempt…

  16. Betsy December 26, 2011 at 16:44 #

    One bad one out of 61 is a pretty successful record. I never made creme brulee before so didn’t have other recipes to compare with. I did have to cook mine for 90 minutes before it set, but it did, eventually. Sorry yours didn’t come out as you expected. Happy Holidays.

  17. Lola December 27, 2011 at 11:33 #

    I made this many months ago and had the same issues! In fact I was so disappointed in the recipe I nearly decided to drop out of FFwD completely. Your ramekins are fabulous and I now have ramekin envy!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 13, 2012 at 20:48 #

      Ramekin envy – LOL! I think it’s not too bad that ONE out of all the recipes I have tried so far didn’t work out…

  18. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction January 2, 2012 at 20:26 #

    Darron gave me a kitchen torch for Christmas, so I’m dying to make some creme brulee (mostly so I can play with fire, though I do enjoy creme brulee!)… Perhaps I will try a different recipe, though. Your photos are lovely, though, even though the creme brulee was a bit on the soupy side!

  19. penny aka jeroxie January 6, 2012 at 08:41 #

    My favourite TOO!!

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