Crème Brulee

  • 4 cups cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • Pinch of salt
  • 12 egg yolks
  • Extra sugar for brulee top

For this recipe you will need a butane torch and 8-12 ramekins.

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Place the cream in a medium sauce pot.  Split the vanilla bean down the middle lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  Place the seeds and the pods into the cream.  Heat the cream mixture gently over medium heat until just simmering.  Remove from heat and let steep while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  Set up your baking dish by lining it with a kitchen rag.  Place your ramekins in the baking dish and set aside.  In a mixing bowl with a spout (helpful but not required), combine the egg yolks, salt and sugar and mix until combined.  Do not whip the eggs, just mix them until they turn a pale yellow color.  Also prepare another bowl with a strainer over the top and set it aside.  Add a small amount of the warm cream mixture to the eggs and whisk.  Continue adding the cream slowly, whisking constantly until all the cream is added.  Pour mixture through the strainer and into the other bowl.  Divide the mixture between the ramekins, filling them about 1/4 inches below the rim.  Place the baking dish onto the oven rack and very carefully pour boiling water into the pan to surround the ramekins.  The water should come up about 2/3 of the way up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the middles are firm (they should jiggle like jell-o, not be watery) or an instant read thermometer reads 170°F.  Let custard cool for about 30 minutes before serving.

To brulee the tops:

Sprinkle an even layer of granulated sugar over the top of the custard.  Using a butane torch (you can buy a home version of these at any cooking store), touch the flame to the sugar and move in a slow even circle around the surface of the custard.  The sugar will start to ball up, then turn brown and then melt out over the top.  Turn off the torch right when the liquid sugar starts to bubble.  You want it to be golden brown, not black.  Let rest for 2-3 minutes and enjoy!

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