Crème Brulee


I have been wanting to make Crème Brulee for years. I don't know why I have never tried until now. It is so easy, delicious and very impressive. Best of all, there are very few dishes to clean up and it is really fast to get into the oven. I think it is the perfect dessert.

Source: adapted from Alton Brown

Serves 6-8

1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 T. vanilla bean paste)
1 cup vanilla sugar (or regular sugar), divided
6 large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water
fresh berries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. If using vanilla bean, remove and reserve for another use.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6-8 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top (if really cold). Divide the remaining 1/4 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6-8 (depending how many you need) dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. If your torch isn't melting all the sugar without burning it, you may want to dump some off. I had better luck with a bit less sugar on top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Top with berries if desired.

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