Créme Brulee is a classic French dessert made from cream and egg yolks with a brittle caramelized sugar topping. The textual contrast of smooth, warm, creamy custard lying just beneath a fragile glassy sugar coating is culinary perfection for the senses.
1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water
1 cup “Sugar in the Raw”
6 individual-size ramekins (available at Pier 1 or Bed, Bath and Beyond)
A kitchen torch (also at Bed, Bath and Beyond)
- Four basic ingredients comprise this dish: heavy cream, vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. extract), eggs (yolks only) and sugar.
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and separate into two sections. Hold the pod at one end and then—using the edge of a knife—begin scraping the beans into a mound, reserving off to the side.
- In a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine the heavy cream, vanilla bean pod and scraped seed. Bring just to a simmer. Once the mixture begins to simmer, remove from heat; discard the vanilla bean. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites (discard or save whites for a different recipe) placing yolks in a mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup sugar and whisk well until light in color.
- Add the vanilla cream mixture, one cup at a time, whisking continually to incorporate well.
- Skim the froth off the surface and discard.
- Carefully pour the liquid into 6 (7–8 oz.) ramekins.
- Place the ramekins into a large cake pan. Pour enough hot water into the cake pan to come half way up the ramekins. Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake at 325° F until crème brulees are set but still trembling in the center, about 45 minutes.
- Remove crème brulees from pan and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Divide the Sugar in the Raw between the six dishes and spread evenly over top. Using a torch, melt the sugar until it forms a crispy top.