The making of crème brulee is a deliciously rich work of art. Caramelize the sugar coating with a torch and you will have a dessert and a show. Believe me, this dessert is very easy to make and because it should be made ahead of time, it is the ideal dessert to finish a great meal. You will have more time to spend at the dinner table, and your guests will give you a five-star rating as a culinary master when they see you "torching" the dessert! Trust me, a little flame goes a long way!
The creamy and rich texture of the brulee is very decadent. It is often infused with vanilla beans, fruit flavors or liquor. It is important to mention that, as a member of the custard family, it is always compared with the Spanish version known as “Flan”, but they are very different. Flan is a vanilla egg custard, unmolded out of its container and topped with a liquid caramel sauce, and much denser. Crème Brulee is served in its container, and it is coated with a sugary shell that must be broken to enjoy the creamy texture of the brulee.
If you have never made crème brulee, you should give it a try!
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
½ cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Pour cream into a medium saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Add vanilla bean and the scraped pulp and heat till it almost comes to a boil. Remove from heat and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and the egg yolks until it turns pale yellow in color. Add cream a little at a time, and mix well. Pour into ramekins. Place the ramekins into a deep baking dish. Pour hot water into the baking dish to create a water bath. Make sure the hot water comes almost halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake just until the crème brulee is almost set, approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to broil, dust the custard with granulated sugar and place in the oven for about 2-5 minutes till sugar is melted and caramelized. Remove from heat and allow it to cool before serving. If you prefer to torch the sugar in front of your guests, use a butane torch (you can find small ones made for that purpose at most kitchen supply stores). Hover the flame over the sugar to allow the heat to caramelize without burning.