Can I eat it, Can I freeze it, Creme Brulee Edition
January 1, 2017 6:40 PM   Subscribe

So for New Year's, I made way too much creme brulee, using this Alton Brown recipe. Questions on dealing with the excess inside.

Basically what it says on the tin. I have about 12+ portions worth left over, so I'd like to avoid tossing it, but don't want to get anyone sick.

* How long can I keep the unbaked batter in the fridge before I have to toss it?
* Can I freeze it (either pre- or post-baking) to eat in a week or two, and what's the best way to do so? How would I then defrost it?
posted by matildatakesovertheworld to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is it too far along to make ice cream from it? That's what I would do if it hasn't already been too thickened/baked.
posted by janell at 6:50 PM on January 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Heck, even if it's been baked and bruléed, it'd be worth tossing into an ice cream maker to see what happens. (As a Californian I've only had a few opportunities to taste frozen custard but it was amazing, and this might be delightfully in the neighborhood…)
posted by Lexica at 7:11 PM on January 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Can you spare the ramekins, or just make fewer but larger brûlée's? Because I would def freeze them after baking. Defrost overnight in the fridge, torch before serving. I think this would be fine. Wrap them well to keep them from picking up freezer smells.

The "batter" as you term it is actually what you churn to make proper Vanilla Ice Cream, so don't hold back if that's your preference!
posted by jbenben at 7:22 PM on January 1, 2017

The batter should freeze alright, I wouldn't keep it in the fridge more than another couple days.

You'll need to whisk it back together thoroughly once it's defrosted. You might want to incorporate a teaspoon or two of cornstarch at that point as "insurance" against frost-defrost-induced separation, and I wouldn't count on it if I was having the boss over for dinner say, but really it should be fine.
posted by STFUDonnie at 7:24 PM on January 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've turned leftover corn starch pudding into ice cream with a Dovier (simple, non electric) freezer and it was just fine. Frozen (in an ice cream maker) creme brulee should be sublime.
posted by she's not there at 9:01 PM on January 1, 2017

Ice cream sounds intriguing, but I don't have an ice cream maker. Any way to do it without that?
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 9:25 PM on January 1, 2017

Here's a labor intensive method that I've used to keep little kids occupied. Works fine in quantities up to at least a quart—I haven't attempted doing more than that in one batch.

You need 2 metal containers with leak proof lids—one for the creme brulee/ice cream and another (round) that is large enough to hold the first container and a generous amount of ice and rock salt. Center the first container in the second, add the ice and rock salt, and close/seal the top. Turn the contraption on its side and roll back and forth for ~15-20 minutes. Open and stir the ice cream, which should be freezing along the sides of the inner container. Close and repeat until the contents of the inner container are universally soft frozen. At this point, you can eat it or put the inner container in the freezer.

Note: I would whip the creme brulee mix with an electric mixer before pouring it into the container to incorporate as much air as possible into the mix. This will help prevent it from turning rock hard in the freezer.
posted by she's not there at 10:14 PM on January 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Congrats on having delicious creme brûlée leftovers to eat all winter long! A slight correction if I may, it's not batter you've made, it's essentially creme anglaise. This means you have options! You can churn in it an ice cream maker for vanilla ice cream, serve it with chocolate cake, or pour it over berries (frozen berries are great for this)! If you do want to freeze it, I would bake the creme brûlée beforehand. I'm not sure how long it'll last by itself in the fridge, but the general rule of thumb is to keep dairy products no longer than a week to be on the safe side. Happy cooking!
posted by Champagne Supernova at 10:48 PM on January 1, 2017

Ice cream sounds intriguing, but I don't have an ice cream maker. Any way to do it without that?

Chances are very good that someone you know has an ice cream maker they're not using very often. Put a request out on facebook or whatever social media and ask if anyone has one you can borrow for the week.
posted by phunniemee at 6:36 AM on January 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

I would caution you on the ice cream!

Traditionally, creme brulee "batter" is mixed and then baked in a water bath in the oven, as your recipes appears to be. However, ice cream batter, while it may be all the same ingredients, it cooked on the stove top so that your ice cream isn't made with raw eggs. What you have is a custard base, but not a custard. You can certainly try cooking it on your stove top - if you do so, do it over medium to medium-low hear, stirring constantly. It's ready when it's "a la nappe" - coating the back on the spoon (so if you were using spatula or a wooden spoon, if you run you finger through the coating, the path you make would stay set, not drip back liquidy through it, if that makes sense.)

However, without studying the recipe in more depth, I can't advise if the ratio would hold up to stovetop cooking or not, and I don't know how well the base would freeze. You can however freeze it after baking - just carefully wrap each individual ramekin.
posted by firei at 3:17 PM on January 2, 2017

Cooking that Alton Brown recipe prior to freezing should be fine, as it's similar in proportions to some recipes for ice cream bases.

Just fyi, when I make ice cream, it's typically a spur-of-the-moment idea that would die if it required cooking the base and waiting for it to cool before freezing. So, my most frequently used recipe—3 eggs, 1/2-2/3 c sugar, a quart of dairy, flavoring—is made with raw eggs. (Made it twice over the weekend.)

I wouldn't serve this to small children at all or to adults without informing them of the raw eggs, but this generally is not an issue, as the eaters are usually also the makers. (My ice cream freezer requires frequent hand stirring for about 30 minutes after the base is added.)
posted by she's not there at 4:46 PM on January 2, 2017

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