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love me, love me a Valentine's day menu
by Yee-Fan Sun|
1 2 3 4
continued from page 3

crème brûlée
Though I’m a chocoholic myself, the boy’s dessert weakness is anything rich and custardy. This classic caramel-custard dessert is surprisingly easy to put together; you can do most of the work the night before if you like, leaving more time to relax and enjoy your meal come Valentine’s Day itself.

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
2 large egg yolks
1 ½ tsp. cornstarch
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
about 4 tsps. brown sugar
fresh berries for garnish

equipment: 2 6-oz. ovenproof custard cups, plus a high-sided baking pan large enough to accommodate the cups

time 20 minutes, plus chilling and final caramelizing
yields 2

1 Preheat the oven to 350F.

2 Pour the milk and cream into a small pot, and heat over medium-high until small bubbles start to form. Remove from heat and set aside.

3 Beat the egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla in a small mixing bowl. Add about half of the hot milk mixture and stir well to combine; pour the whole shebang back into the pot along with the rest of the milk mixture. Over medium-low heat, cook the custard, stirring frequently, until you have a mixture that’s thickened enough to heavily coat the back of a spoon. This will take about 10-15 minutes.

4 Divide the custard between the two custard cups. Place the cups in your baking pan, and fill the pan with boiling water, to about 1” from the top of the cups. Slide it all carefully into the oven, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the custard has just set. Remove the cups from the pan, let cool at room temperature for a half or so, then chill in the fridge for 2 more hours, or until the next day even (if you’re chilling overnight, once the cups are cool, it’s good to cover with plastic wrap to avoid picking up other flavors from your fridge).

5 When you’re almost ready to serve dessert, arrange a rack in the top of your oven and preheat the broiler. Sprinkle about 2 tsps of brown sugar atop each custard, enough to completely cover the surface. Place the custard cups back into the baking pan you used earlier; surround with ice. When the broiler’s all heated up, slide in the pan and broil for 2-5 minutes, until the sugar has just melted and lightly browned. Keep an eye on the custards while they’re in the broiler, turning the custards as needed to cook evenly, as sugar goes from caramelized to burnt VERY quickly. Serve with a generous smattering of fresh berries.

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