After the success of my banana cream pie, I felt like I could tackle anything. So I decided to attempt one dessert that has defeated me in the past: the pesky crème brulée. The last time I tried this dessert out, I pulled it out of the oven, let it sit for the required amount of time, and when it was time to brulée it, I shook it a little bit and realized it was pure liquid. No rich, velvety custard. The crème had been ruined!
So I won’t lie when I said I was super nervous to try it again. I was prepared to be in a deep depression if the crème didn’t set this time. However, once I let the ramekins sit for a bit to cool, placed them in the fridge, and pulled them out for some brulée-ing, there was no jiggle. The crème had set!
After a little scorch from my miniature torch, I dug in. Heaven! The crème brulée could not defeat me this time!
VANILLA CRÈME BRULÉE
Servings: 4 5.5-ounce ramekins
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
½ cup sugar, more for topping
- Heat the oven to 325 °F. In a small saucepan, combine the cream, vanilla bean, and salt, and cook over low heat just until hot. Let sit for a few minutes, then discard the vanilla bean. (If using vanilla extract, you can add it now.)
- In a bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together until light. Whisk about a quarter of the cream into this mixture, then pour the sugar-egg mixture into cream and stir.
- Pour into four 5.5- or 6-ounce ramekins and place ramekins in a baking dish. Fill the dish with boiling water about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until centers are barely set. Cool the crème completely, and then refrigerate for several hours (up to a couple of days).
- When ready to serve, top each custard with about a teaspoon of sugar in a thin layer. Either use a small kitchen torch to brown the sugar on top, or place the ramekins in a broiler 2 to 3 inches from the heat source. Turn on the broiler. Cook until the sugar melts and browns about 5 minutes. Serve within two hours.