I am using the Vodka Pie Crust recipe once again since I need a thin, sturdy crust. I have added 1/4 cup sugar to the crust recipe to make it a decidedly sweet, not neutral, flavor.
I have used frozen raspberries sweetened with about 1/2 cup sugar. I boiled the fruit & sugar, strained through a fine sieve to remove the seeds and simmered the juice to reduce slightly.
I am using the Creme Brulee recipe we all learned in culinary school. Since that recipe calls for 2 qts. of cream and 27 egg yolks I have scaled it down to the amount needed for one 9 " pie or 2-3 mini pies.
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
3 oz. sugar (about 1/3 cup)
pinch of salt
8 egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Combine the sugar, salt, egg yolks and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Combine the cream and milk and scald. Temper the eggs by adding a 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture and beating well. Add the eggs to the cream and continue to beat until incorporated.
Line the pie tins with the Vodka Pie Crust, crimping the edges. Spoon the raspberry mixture into the bottom of the crust - just enough to cover the bottom. Ladle the custard into the crust filling it completely. I like to pass it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any coagulated egg proteins that might spoil the smooth texture of the custard. Transfer the pie tins to the oven on a parchment lined sheet pan. Bake at 350F for 1 hour. Check at 45 minutes to see if they might be done sooner. The centers should be just set with a little wobble remaining. Transfer sheet pan to rack to cool the pies completely. Wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Cover the surface of the custard with a thick layer of sugar. No gaps should be present. No custard peaking through. Use a butane torch to caramelize the sugar. Take your time and keep the torch moving. The flame should move over the surface and not remain in one spot. Serve immediately.
As usual, we did not wait until the custard was completely cooled and set. The taste was heavenly, however, so it didn't matter. The torch took some practice and getting over the fear of possibly setting the apartment on fire. It was easy to use and will serve a number of purposes. For the next week it will just be caramelizing sugar on the remaining pies.