Let's create a dessert that transcends the ordinary, a Crème Brûlée that's sure to be the crowning glory of your sweet repertoire - a dessert that marries simplicity with sophistication.
- 1 saucepan
- 2 bowl
- 6 ramekins
- 1 deep baking dish
- 1 fine-mesh sieve
- 1 kitchen torch
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ⅞ cup milk
- 1 vanilla bean (or 2 tsp of vanilla extract)
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar (110 g) - 3⅞ oz + extra for caramelizing
- Preheat the oven: preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C).
- Prepare the Custard Base: in a saucepan, heat the heavy cream and milk over medium heat until it's just about to boil. If using a vanilla bean, split it lengthwise, scrape the seeds into the cream, and add the pod. If using vanilla extract, add it directly to the cream.
- Infuse the cream: allow the cream to sit off the heat for about 15 minutes to let the vanilla infuse.
- Whisk egg yolks and sugar: in a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale and slightly thickened.
- Temper the eggs: Gradually pour the infused cream into the egg mixture, whisking continuously to temper the eggs. Remove the vanilla pod if used.
- Strain the mixture: strain the custard mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a pouring jug or bowl to ensure a smooth texture.
- Prepare the ramekins: arrange your ramekins in a deep baking dish. Pour the custard mixture into the ramekins, dividing it equally.
- Create a water bath: pour hot water into the baking dish, coming halfway up the sides of the ramekins. This creates a gentle, even cooking environment.
- Bake the custard: carefully transfer the baking dish to the preheated oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the custard is set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center.
- Chill: remove the ramekins from the water bath and let them cool. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight until fully chilled.
- Caramelize the sugar: just before serving, sprinkle a thin, even layer of granulated sugar over the custard. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar until it forms a golden-brown crust. Alternatively, place the ramekins under a preheated broiler for a few minutes.
- Serve and enjoy: allow the caramelized sugar to cool and harden slightly before serving. The contrast between the crackly sugar top and the creamy custard underneath is the hallmark of a perfect Crème Brûlée.
- Experiment with flavored sugars, like vanilla-infused sugar, for an extra layer of aroma.
- Ensure the custard is thoroughly chilled before caramelizing the sugar to achieve the ideal texture contrast.