There is nothing more delicious than crème brulee (French for “burned cream”). It has only four ingredients and can easily be made at home.
- 2 Cups of Heavy Cream
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 1/3 Cup of Sugar
- A sprinkling of either granulated or confectioner sugar
- Heat the oven to 325ºF. Pour the heavy cream in a non-reactive pan; split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds; add the seed with the pod to the cream. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together until well blended and set aside. Scald the cream and vanilla bean over low heat until steaming. As the cream starts to steam, shut off the heat and remove the pod. Pour a half a cup of cream into the egg yolks while whisking quickly; this will slowly heat the yolks, reducing the chance of them scrambling. Steadily pour the yolk mixture back into the cream while whisking quickly. When thoroughly mixed, divide mixture into oven-safe individual ramekins. Place ramekins in a tall sided baking pan. Pour hot water into the pan about half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 35-45 minutes. Chill for a couple of hours. When ready to serve, sprinkle the top of each serving with a thin layer of sugar. If you have a propane kitchen torch, heat the sugar with the flame until it begins to brown. Without the torch, use the oven broiler to caramelize the sugar. Broil for 20 seconds within 1 inch of the flame or heating element. Watch the ramekins when they are under the broiler to avoid burning the sugar.
- Despite the name, you don’t want to actually burn the sugar on top; only cook it to a golden color; too dark and it will taste bitter.
- Use a tea pot to pour the hot water into a baking pan; it’s easier to pour and less likely to splash into the custard. The best test for doneness is the “wobble test”. Gently shake a ramekin with tongs; its perfect when the edges are set but the rest of the custard jiggles like Jell-O.