Crème brûlée is a quintessentially French dessert that is quite simple to make. This recipe is adaptable to suit your palate – you can add coffee, cocoa powder or coffee liquor or you could add lemon juice and zest…the possibilities are endless!
1 vanilla bean
2 cup heavy cream, full fat milk or soymilk
4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar + 6 tablespoons sugar
Slice vanilla bean in half and scrape out seeds, reserving peel.
Pour 2 cups of cream, vanilla bean peel and seeds into a saucepan.
Heat cream on medium heat until small bubbles form on the side of the pot
When bubbles form on side of pot, remove from heat and take out vanilla bean peel.
Meanwhile beat eggs with ½ cup sugar.
Take a large spoonful of cream and mix it into the eggs to temper the egg mixture
Pour tempered eggs into cream and mix, and then strain mixture.
Pour into 6 ramekins or custard dishes. Place the ramekins in a baking dish.
Pour about an inch of hot water into the baking dish, making sure that the water does not reach the top of your ramekins or custard dishes.
Bake at 350F for 35 minutes or until custard is set.
Let cool. When ready to serve, spoon a tablespoon of sugar on top of each brûlée and place under broiler until sugar starts to caramelize, or use a torch to caramelize the sugar.
TIP: Add flavor additions (coffee liquor, lemon juice/zest for example) once crème brulee batter is mixed together; right before you would strain the mixture and pour into ramekins.
Tempering eggs: When incorporating eggs into hot mixtures during baking it is important to take the extra effort and temper the eggs. Tempering the eggs basically means elevating the temperature of the eggs so that they won’t scramble.
In the case of crème brûlée, the cream is pretty hot and if you would pour the eggs directly into the cream without tempering the eggs, they would scramble. To temper eggs, pour a few tablespoons of the hot mixture/liquid into the eggs, mix & then pour the rest of the eggs into the hot liquid.
Vanilla beans are thin black plants that are about 7-10 inches long with an incredible aroma & tremendous flavor. Vanilla beans come in many varieties including, Bourbon/Madagascar, Mexican, & Tahitian beans. It takes a lot of effort to grow vanilla beans and are the second most expensive spice.
To add the best flavor to your dishes, choose vanilla beans that are oily to the touch and have a deep vanilla aroma.