"This is very simple--and very delicious," Beth comments. She had never seen crème brulée done with a decorative top before and created it for a contest (it won). -RISA WYATT
Recipe excerpted from Hungry Halloween by Beth Jackson Klosterboer
"Eyeball" Crème Brulée
Peterson Winery, Muscat Blanc, Dry Creek Valley, 2009. 17% abv.
Bright lilac perfume, with driving acidity and texture. The residual sugar, with honeysuckle notes on the palate, makes an ideal match for crème brulée. From an organic practicing estate, with a long tradition of excellence in the Dry Creek Valley. Peterson Winery
1 refrigerated pie crust, thawed
3 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch table salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
9 egg yolks
1-2 tablespoons black sanding sugar
2-3 tablespoons green or blue sanding sugar
4-6 tablespoons granulated sugar, or white sanding sugar
1 tablespoon red sanding sugar
Special Equipment Needed:
9" pie plate
2" round cookie cutter
4 1/2" round cookie cutter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Unroll thawed pie crust into a 9" pie pan. Lightly press crust into the edge of pan. Fold excess crust under and press together to form a thick crust edge. Flute edge. Prick bottom and sides of crust with a fork. Lay a piece of tin foil over crust. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil and weights. Return to oven and bake until golden brown, 4-8 minutes. Let crust cool completely.
Combine 1 1/2 cups cream, sugar, and salt in medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure all the sugar dissolves.
Continue to heat until small bubbles appear around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups cold cream and set aside.
Place egg yolks in a mixing bowl and lightly whisk. Add 1 cup of the cream mixture to the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Pour the remaining cream into the eggs in a steady stream while whisking. Stir in the vanilla and then pour mixture back into the saucepan.
Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and reaches a temperature of 175 degrees. Let mixture stand for 10 minutes before pouring into cooled pie crust.
Cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Then refrigerate pie until completely chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.
Remove the pie from the refrigerator and decorate the top of the pie with sugar. Place a 2" round cookie cutter in the center of the pie. Sprinkle in black sanding sugar until you have a nice black pupil. Place 4 1/2" round cookie cutter in the center of the pie, keeping the smaller cutter in place for now. Sprinkle green or blue sanding sugar in between the two round cutters, creating the iris. Keeping cutters in place, sprinkle white granulated or sanding sugar all around the outer perimeter of the pie. Carefully remove the cookie cutters and fill in any gaps with sugar. Create a bloodshot appearance, by sprinkling small lines of red sanding sugar around the white of the eye.
Then for best results, use a propane torch to caramelize the sugar. If you don't have a torch, place pie under the broiler until sugar melts. Re-chill pie for 15 minutes before serving.
Note: Caramelize sugar within 30 minutes of decorating. (Do not refrigerate your decorated pie before caramelizing. The sugar will melt into the pie.)