CAUTION: This creamy, rich dessert is dangerously easy to make. Avoid eating every day. If you can’t stop, see your doctor. Classic Creme Brulee is a lot easier than most people think. Planning ahead makes all the difference but the ingredients and method couldn’t be more straight forward. Perfect for Valentine’s Day or any special, romantic occasion.
Ingredients for Creme Brulee:
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
additional sugar for caramelizing tops
NOTES: Makes 4 servings using 5 ounce ramikens. When making the water bath, stay close to the oven to avoid walking across the kitchen and spilling water onto your floor, or worse, into your custards. If you do not have a kitchen torch, you can use your oven broiler, though I have not had good results with this method, my sister swears by the broiler!
1) Preheat oven to 300 (F).
2) In a bowl whisk egg yolks vigorously.
3) Add sugar. And seriously, whisk! Whisking gets the sugar crystals to break down the egg for maximum creaminess. Add vanilla and continue whisking vigorously. Get it all out. Because now it’s time to be gentle.
4) Add heavy cream to egg mixture all at once. Gently stir until ingredients are combined.
5) Add salt and continue gently stirring. Combine the ingredients thoroughly while minimizing the amount of bubbles in the mixture.
6) Make a water bath with 4, 5 ounce ramekins. Add medium-hot (not boiling) water to a baking dish and fill until water is halfway up the sides of the ramekins. This is called a bain-marie.
7) Pour mixture through a strainer. Either strain mixture directly into ramekins, or strain into a bowl and then pour into ramekins.
8) Bake custards at 300 (F) for 50 minutes. The center will not be completely set, but the edges will. Carefully remove from the oven.
9) Allow to cool in water bath until you are able to remove them with your hands.
10) Allow to cool.
11) Cover with plastic wrap.
12) Refrigerate overnight for best results (or at least 2 hours).
13) After the custards are chilled, dust the top of each with sugar over entire surface as evenly as possible. About one teaspoon per ramekin.
14) Follow the directions for your butane kitchen torch and turn on continuous stream. Be careful.
15) In small, circular motions, torch sugar so that it melts gently without darkening too quickly (or catching fire!). If the sugar darkens too quickly, hold the torch further away. If the sugar isn’t darkening, hold the torch closer to the sugar.
The perfect top has a light to medium-dark amber color, depending on your preference. After caramelizing the tops, place in refrigerator to cool down for five minutes. Top with berries or enjoy as is!