Three, Ingredient Crème Brûlée
This classic French dessert is one of my favorite desserts. It’s simple to make yet elegant, and it’s a great way to impress guests at your next dinner party.
Here is a traditional Crème Brûlée with a thin layer of crispy toffee on top of a silky, creamy, and rich custard. This dish embodies French style in its most easy, sophisticated, and unpretentious form. Just four basic components are needed: cream, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla. It’s a great dessert to prepare ahead of time for a formal dinner party, yet simple enough to prepare for supper right now.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar, divided in half (½ cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Place six ramekins or custard cups in a roasting pan and fill halfway with water. Set aside. In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring cream just to simmering point; remove from heat immediately and set aside to cool while preparing the rest of the recipe.
2 vanilla beans, scraped and divided
Vanilla beans are the seeds of the vanilla fruit, and they’re most commonly used for baking. But did you know that vanilla beans can be used to flavor ice cream, milk shakes and other desserts? They’re also used to make extract. The good news is that you don’t need to buy an entire bottle of commercial vanilla extract: just scrape some seeds from a few pods for this recipe!
Vanilla beans typically come in two pieces: one long piece with a slit down the middle (also called split) and one shorter piece with a tiny “eye” on one end (also called whole). To scrape out all of the seeds from both kinds, use a paring knife or small spoon. Cut off any brown spots before adding them to your custard mixture.
½ cup granulated sugar, divided
In a small bowl, combine ½ cup granulated sugar, split vanilla beans and seeds. Microwave for 1 minute or until hot. Stir to combine and make sure the vanilla bean is fully incorporated into the sugar mixture. Set aside until you’re ready to use it in your brulee recipe.
4 cups heavy cream
Heavy cream is a type of milk with a high fat content. It’s used in many desserts, including whipped cream and crème brûlée.
1 tablespoon spiced rum or brandy
If you don’t have any, you can substitute with water. If you don’t have any at all, feel free to omit it!
8 large egg yolks
- Separate the eggs into two separate bowls.
- Whisk the egg yolks until they are pale yellow and form soft peaks, about 5 minutes.
- Add in sugar and vanilla bean seeds, whisking until every grain of sugar is dissolved into the mixture. Don’t rush this step; it’s crucial for achieving a smooth creme brulee! Let sit for 10 minutes to thicken slightly before baking in ramekins or custard cups lined with parchment paper (or simply dipped in water), leaving an inch of space at the top so it doesn’t overflow when cooking (this will vary depending on your pan size).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla seeds until pale.
- Pour in the cream and rum and mix well. Set aside.
- Fill four ramekins with water so they can stand upright in a baking pan (you may need to stack them to make sure they don’t tip over). Place the ramekins on top of baking paper in the baking tray. Pour cream mixture into each ramekin until almost full (you want room at the top for expansion).
- Bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit), or until set but still wobbly in the centre.
- Cool completely before refrigerating overnight. Creme Brulee is ready for serving when it has set up properly , about an hour after removing from fridge.
Create the Crème Brûlée’s crunchy toffee topping
The crisp toffee coating is easily removed with a blow torch. Simply sprinkle with sugar and blow with the torch for 6 to 10 seconds to melt and render the sugar golden. As it cools, it will immediately solidify.
To ensure that the sugar melts, place the ramekins on a scorching, hot grill or broiler for 45 to 60 seconds if you don’t have a blow torch. My two little recommendations, nevertheless, are:
- In order to keep the custard from melting, the brûlée should be chilled overnight.
- After the sugar has melted, place the crème brûlées back in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour. This is because the grill cooks the food more thoroughly than a blowtorch, causing the surface of the custard beneath the caramel to slightly melt.