Crème Brûlée is one of those things. You know? Those things that are necessary to a dessert lover. You just have to have one at least once in your life! If you don't feel this same urge, then may I ask... do you have blood running through your veins? What is wrong with you!? I'm just kidding, but seriously I think almost all people love this dessert... here's to wishful thinking!
"Times are hard for dreamers." That is quite possibly my most favorite quote from my favorite movie, Amelie. If you haven't watched it, please do! There is a moment in the movie that would touch any foodie's heart - the moment when she declares that one of her favorite things in the world to do is to crack the top of a crème brûlée with the back of her spoon. Ever since then, I smile widely whenever I come across a crème brûlée!
But, there are more reasons to love crème brûlée than that! Actually, there are plenty of reasons. First, it's actually quite simple to make and thankfully only requires but a few ingredients. Oh, and it doesn't help that it's utterly delicious. Creamy beyond words and perfectly sweetened. Of course, the hardened-crackled top is necessary!
A quick note: for some reason when I baked these in the ramekins pictured here, everything turned out rainbows and butterflies. But... I baked another batch in a larger, deeper dish and it turned out horribly mangled and curdled! I have no idea why, but consider that as you are making this.
One of my favorite desserts! I can't believe I hadn't made it until now!
Yields: 6 servings
Original recipe here.
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup + 1 tbsn. sugar
1/3 - 1/4 cup white sugar or light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 300 F. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the cream with the vanilla bean over medium low heat for 15 minutes, stirring to ensure it does not burn; DO NOT let it boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the vanilla bean. Strain the cream through a fine mesh sieve. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsn. sugar. Add about half of the cream mixture, a little at a time, to the egg mixture, whisking until well blended. Then pour the egg mixture into the remaining cream mixture, stir until completely blended. Pour into 4 (9oz.) ramekins or custard cups. Place the dishes in a large baking pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the mixture is set in the center (it shouldn't wiggle when shaken). Carefully remove the dishes from the baking pan. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours. Let creme brulee stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Divide 1/3 - 1/2 cup of the white or brown sugar in a thin, even layer over each custard, covering it completely. To caramelize, light a propane torch and hold it so that the flame just touches the surface. Serve immediately.