a favorite recipe from Christmas 2019


We had a busy and family-filled Christmas celebration this year. I suppose I should mention that the one who always smiles for the camera wasn’t having any of it for this photo. Sweet Emily couldn’t offer us her pearly whites through any of the attempts to get one decent shot. So, her sweet face is under those folded arms in this rendition of the Gefferts 2019 family photo. The gang was all here, and even Mike’s mother managed to be here with us, literally coming from the hospital to our table. It has been a year of ups and downs with aging parents’ health, and a scare for Lauren with an unexpected seizure in November, but in this moment, all is well and we are thankful. We come together well as a family and there is nothing that makes this mama’s heart any gladder than having all the kids home with their families. We enjoyed many meals together and had way too much goodies and eggnog, as we ate our way right through the season. For Christmas, we had a beef tenderloin with Bearnaise sauce, and horseradish cream, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, and our favorite savory rendition of monkey bread. To finish it off, we had Creme Brulee, a family favorite. I thought we might torch the house with the flame thrower we used to caramelize the sugar, but no animals were harmed in the making.

Sometimes, simple is best and for Creme Brulee, it doesn’t get any simpler ingredients. Sugar, eggs, and cream. Pretty much it. But how they come together is nothing short of perfection. Enjoy!

Creme Brulee

1 quart heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 cup vanilla sugar, divided

6 large egg yolks

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes.
  4. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.