So I am a huge fan of this delicious culinary delight. If you’ve never had the pleasure of consuming crème brûlée, its like an adult and more sophisticated version of vanilla pudding with a toasty, thin layer of crunchy sugar on top-some delicious noshery, if I do say so myself. The custard is incredibly simple, with vanilla being the only highlighted flavor, and by no means is it overly sweet. The clean, vanilla flavor of this sinfully creamy custard is almost too well complimented with the caramelized sugar, and admittedly so, caramalizing the sugar top is all too entertaining. I think every girl should own a mini blowtorch, it adds more of a bad a** vibe in the kitchen 😉
I’ve made crème brûlée in past and have failed a couple of times. The second time I attempted to make it, it was more of ‘crème de la soup brûlée’ where the utensil of choice was probably a straw. After finding this custard base recipe in Kate Zuckerman’s cookbook “The Sweet Life-Desserts from Chanterelle,” I will never be in search for a custard recipe again. This is FOOLPROOF, and truly an impressive piece of art.
I made this dessert for an in-house date which turned out absolutely perfect. This can be made days in advance and can sit in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, making this ideal for my busy schedule. An idea for entertaining guests when serving this dessert is bringing the mini blowtorch with you for the consumer to caramalize their own dessert, it will bring a whole different dose of excitement when serving something as beautiful as this. I would highly suggest this recipe if this is your first attempt at what seems like an intimidating dessert. Try it out, nothing is more satisfying that that first crack through the hard-topped sugar, revealing the delicious vanilla custard.
Yields: 6 servings
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 granulated sugar
Special Supplies Needed:
- 12×9-inch metal baking pan with 2-inch sides
- Six 4.5-6-ounce ramekins
- Crème brûlée torch
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- To prepare the custard, run a paring knife down the center of the vanilla bean. Split it open with your fingers and use a knife to scrape out the tiny black seeds into a heavy-bottomed saucepan (if using vanilla extract, add it to the custard as directed below). Add the cream, milk, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and vanilla pod and bring to just barely a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow vanilla pod to steep in the cream for at least 15 minutes.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, egg, remaining sugar, and salt. Using a ladle, slowly whisk some of the hot cream into the egg mixture to temper it. This will prevent the eggs from being cooked too quickly when added to the hot cream. Gradually pour the warmed egg mixture into the remaining hot cream whisking constantly as your pour. Strain the custard to remove the vanilla bean. Stir in the vanilla extract, if using. The custard is ready to be baked or you can chill it over an ice bath, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Place the six ramekins into the metal baking dish. Using a ladle, fill each ramekin with exactly the same amount of custard, filling 4/5 of the way up the inside of the mold. Add enough hot tap water to the baking dish to reach 2/3 of the way up the outside of the ramekins. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, punching a few air holes in it with a knife to prevent the custard from steaming and overcooking.
- Gently place the dish in the oven, on the middle rack, being careful not to splash water onto the custards. Bake until the custards are set and have a uniform jiggle, 40-45 minutes (if you are using a chilled custard base, bake for 60-70 minutes). Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and allow the custards to cool uncovered. As soon as the custard cups are not too hot to touch, remove from the water bath, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
- Remove the custard from the refrigerator 1/2 hour before you plan to brûlée them. If you see water droplets on the tops of your custard, drape a paper towel over the top of each to remove the moisture. Evenly coat the tops of the chilled custards, cleaning off any sugar that sticks to the rims of the ramekins. Ignite your torch and adjust the flame to medium-low. Melt the sugar by moving the flame back and forth across the custard, maintaining a distance of 2-inches between the tip of the flame and the sugar. The sugar will melt, bubble, and turn a golden brown. Dust the caramelized tops with another thin layer of sugar, and repeat the brûléing process. Allow the caramelized sugar to cool for 3-5 minutes before serving. DO NOT brûlée the custards more than 20 minutes in advance of serving.
Storage: These custards will keep, refrigerated, for 5 days.