Ben & Jerry’s Creme Brulee Ice Cream: Best Brain Freeze I’ve Ever Had!

Okay, so the nutritional information on the Ben & Jerry’s website clearly informs me that a 1/2 cup serving of this heavenly product contains 310 calories, 160 of those from fat.

Heaven

Heaven

But, I just tasted this flavor for the first time tonight and I am simply not thinking about that.  Just not dealing with it in any way, shape, or form.

Creme brulee has been my favorite dessert for a very long time.  I think it was the early ’90s when I sat in a restaurant in Manhattan called “The Back Porch,” a couple of blocks from my Aunt Rose’s apartment, and she suggested I try this for the first time.  It was the best thing I had ever tasted in my entire life.  I actually picked up the little ramekin it had been served in and licked it clean right there in the restaurant!  I was such an upstart then.

Since then, I have considered myself a creme brulee conessouir, which, of course, means I have had more than my share of disappointments along the way. In my quest to repeat that first awesome dessert experience, I have unhesitatingly ordered the creme brulee whenever it has been on the dessert menu of any restuarant.  Recently, my husband has been successful at influencing me away from that policy and convincing me I’ll be a happier human being if I consider the likelihood of getting great creme brulee based on the restaurant itself.  It continues to amaze me how many ways there are to get creme brulee wrong.  For the record, it is supposed to look like this:

Properly prepared creme brulee

Properly prepared creme brulee

The custard is supposed to be made from scratch (not instant pudding) and the carmelized sugar is supposed to be thin, crisp, and added just before serving.  It is not supposed to be something drizzled over the top or – worse – squirted in a squiggly pattern beneath.  And, it is supposed to taste like heaven.

Now, in the world of things claiming to be creme brulee flavored, I have had a whole separate set of disappointments.  I keep going for it like a Pavlovian dog, most of the time knowing I’m going to throw the thing away and mutter under my breath for half an hour!  Yesterday afternoon, in the supermarket, I wandered down the ice cream aisle and actually decided to browse the Ben & Jerry’s section because I wanted to taste the “Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream” flavor, being a big Colbert fan and having not gotten around to showing my solidarity in this particular fashion to date.

Not yet tasted, but probably awesome!

Not yet tasted, but probably awesome!

Apparently, my local supermarket doesn’t feel the same, since the only “named” flavor in stock was “Cherry Garcia.”  But, oh happy day, I spotted the creme brulee and responded in my usual, impulsive way.  Just to distract my husband from my act of impetuousness, I picked up a quart of Haagen Daas Coffee (his favorite) to accompany my purchase.

So tonight, the subject of ice cream came up after dinner and I told everyone what I had. My husband and stepson were both curious about the new flavor, but said they wanted a good portion of the coffee flavor and a tablespoon or so of the creme brulee.  Fine.  I peeled the lid off of both containers and was instantly encouraged by the creamy appearance and the healthy speckles of what appeared to be actual caramelized sugar…and by my husband’s raised eyebrows (not unlike Colbert’s in that picture over there!).  Still, we dished lightly…just in case.

Well, dear friends, let me tell you, all three of us were in love with this dessert by the time we swallowed our first spoonful.  The creamy vanilla custard (which is how both proper creme brulee and proper vanilla ice cream begin anyway), the crunchy crystallized caramel-colored sugar swirled in, even the way it complimented the coffee flavor made for the most wonderful and complete dessert experience in recent memory.  Of course, recent memories are just all messed up now because my brain is soaked with creme brulee!

Apparently, I am not alone with my family in this feeling.  Several bloggers have already beat me to the punch reviewing this flavor.  Among them are Tina Rice, Shark Like a Fox, Opinions for Nothing (all the way back in January) and Keith Moore.  If you check those out, I offer you the caveat that a couple of these blogs use words you will not find on this one, though their hearts are definitely in the right place on the subject!  Sure, I found as many blogs that feel strongly this is a terrible flavor, but what do they know? 😉

This post wouldn’t be complete without an expression of my deep appreciation to my hubby for making Emeril Lagasse’s creme brulee recipe for me on special occasions.  You rock, honey!  For those of you fellas out there with some cooking prowess who would ilke your wives to tell you how much you rock (unless they’re on Jenny Craig right now, in which case, please skip this paragraph), here is that recipe:

Ingredients

1 quart heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
8 teaspoons raw sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (see note)
8 large egg yolks

In a medium nonreactive (don’t use any bare metal) saucepan, combine the cream, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, and the vanilla bean and pulp over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar together.  Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture until smooth.  Slowly pour this mixture into the hot cream mixture, whisk for 2 minutes, and remove from the heat.  Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Let cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Fill eight 6-ounce custard cups with equal portions of the cream mixture. Place the cups in a deep baking dish large enough to accommodate them comfortably without touching. Fill the baking dish with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the cups.

Bake in the lower third of the oven until lightly golden brown and just set, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.

Before serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the raw sugar on the top of each custard. One at a time, using a kitchen blowtorch, approach the sugar with the torch at a low angle until the inner blue flame is 1/4 inch above the surface and move the flame in a continuous motion over the surface until the sugar has caramelized.  Or, preheat the broiler, sprinkle the sugar over the custards, and slide the dishes under the broiler.  Broil until the sugar caramelizes, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove (carefully!) and allow the custards to cool again. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Note: Vanilla bean is long and thin. To get the essence of the bean, it must be split lengthwise, then scraped to remove the resinous, pasty insides.  Lay the bean on a flat surface with its seam as the center and split toone end. Place the point back at the center and split it to the other end, Use teh blade of the knife to scrape the pasty seeds out.

Do you see how much a husband has to rock to do this for his wife? Great.  Now, go get the ice cream and let me know what you think!

Ephesians 5: 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church– 30 for we are members of his body.

Baked Potatoes – Foil Wrap Fascination

Have you guys heard of Cecil Adams, famous for his “The Straight Dope,” syndicated newspaper column and books?  I’ve been a fan for years.  The guy says he knows everything about everything and, with very few exceptions, seems to have backed that up impressively.  Not that he carries all of that information around in his head. He uses lots of experts and resources…and is very fond of the personal experiment.  I get an email from his website every week with a few highlights of his online version of the column.

This week, I was particularly fascinated by a column about the proper way to wrap a baked potato in aluminum foil.  Should it be shiny side in or shiny side out?  For my part, I had no idea there was such a controversy.  But, apparently there is.  I’ve always wrapped mine shiny side out and no one has ever given me any flack for it.

Sour cream or butter is no longer the biggest choice!

Seems, sour cream or butter is no longer the touchest choice we have to make!

Cecil covered this one from all angles, from consulting foil wrap specialists to actually wrapping potatoes both ways and cooking them side by side.  If you’re not itching to know the answer for yourselves by now, you must at least be hungry!  Go and check it out for yourselves here.  And while you’re there, I suggest poking around the site for more fascinating articles about any topic you can think of (and many that have probably never crossed your mind).  There’s a forum you can sign up for if you’re willing to fork over a few bucks, but subscribing to the weekly email blast is free and fun.  Hey, you might even get smarter in the process!

If you’re already a fan, leave me a comment and tell me why.

~JardinPrayer

2 Chronicles 1:11 And God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life–but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king– 12 wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.”