Crème Brûlée is a classic dessert from the French. It's a staple that pretty much everyone knows. I haven't met anyone who doesn't like it. Why? Well, what's not to like. You have the nice smooth and creamy custard underneath a surface that you torch into a sugary and crunchy top. It's so good. It's also incredibly easy to make.
Start by pouring your heavy cream into a heavy-bottom saucepan. Pour in your sugar and vanilla bean or extract. Split the bean, if you're using it.
Put on medium heat and whisk to combine. Bring to a scald.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and milk until combined.
Take the scalded cream mixture off the heat and slowly pour it into the egg yolk mixture while whisking.
Once you tempered the mixture, add the yolk/cream mixture back into the saucepan.
Pour the mixture through a sieve into the appropriate vessel. Skim the foam on the surface with a spoon. This foam tends to burn.
Place a baking sheet in the preheated oven. Place the ramekins on top of the sheet. Pour 4-5 cups of warm to hot water to ensure the bottom ¼ of the ramekins is covered in water.
Bake for 20-35 minutes. Outside should be firm, inner center should be slightly jiggly.
Take the ramekins out of the oven and let the custard cool for about 10 minutes. Cover with saran and refrigerate for at least four hours or up to overnight.
Use a broiler, hand torch or blow torch to brulee or torch the top. The best tool to use for this is a blow torch, because it's very easy to control the flame power and placement of the flame. Cover the top with sugar in an even layer. Not too much, because sugar burns, but not too little, because the custard can burn. Once done torching, top with fruit or whipped cream optionally. Enjoy immediately after torching!
See how I do it:
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 15 egg yolks
- ½ cup milk
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Split the vanilla bean lengthwise if using.
In a thick bottom sauce pan, combine the vanilla bean, sugar and heavy cream.
Scald the mixture and remove from heat. Gently scrape out the vanilla bean.
In a separate moon bowl, combine the yolks and milk. Whisk until smooth and slightly paler in color.
Temper the hot cream mixture into the yolk mixture.
Return the tempered mixture back into the hot cream, slowly and whisk as you add.
Remove the foam from the surface of the creme brulee, using a spoon.
Place the mixture into the appropriate cooking vessels, such as the ramekins.
Place the ramekins in a 2" full pan and place into the preheated oven. Pour 2 cups of hot water into the sheet pan until just covering the bottom of the ramekins.
Cover the sheet pan with aluminum foil.
Bake for 20-35 minutes or until outside is set but inside is slightly jiggly.
Remove pan from oven carefully or take out the ramekins one by one. Whatever you think is easier for you.
Cool for about 10 minutes and then cover with saran and refrigerate to cool at least four hours or up to overnight.
When ready to torch, just spread sugar evenly over the surface. Make sure to not put too little as this will cause the cream to burn. Don't put too much either. Don't spread it to the outside area, just the inner circle. Torch and enjoy!