Crème brûlée is a traditional dessert that you can find in many restaurants, in France and abroad. However, finding a really good one can be mission impossible, unless... you bake it yourself!
Crème brulée is basically custard topped with brown sugar that is torched to create an amazing caramelized crust. The contrast between the cold custard and the hot burnt caramelized top is exquisite!
And we love the ritual that goes with crème brûlée: most of the people crack the caramelized crust with the back of their spoon. It is not only fun, but it also gives you a hint on the quality of the crust. If it does not crack, then it is not "burnt" enough!
With only 6 classic ingredients, crème brûlée is a so easy to make classic.
The only thing is that you have to plan it in advance, as the custard has to sit in the fridge for at least four hours.
We use a propane torch to burn the top.
You can of course bake it using your oven broiler (we explain the method below). Not everyone has a propane torch at hand (we didn't until a few months ago, and now have this one) and it might not be easy to find depending on your region of the world. However, we won't lie to you: propane torch has much better results. It tastes better, and sugar caramelizes evenly on top.
Vanilla crème brûlée
Serving 6 crèmes brûlées in 12cm diameter ramekins
30cl liquid cream (double cream)
4 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod
Brown sugar (to springle)
Preheat the oven at 90-95°C (194 - 203 F) fan-forced.
In a saucepan on medium heat, bring to a boil cream, milk, sugar and vanilla pod (slice it lenghtwise in half, scrape the beans with a knife and put beans and pod in the saucepan).
Turn off the heat as soon as the mixture boils, and let it rest for 15 minutes so that the vanilla infuses the cream. Squeeze the vanilla pod to make sure all the beans are in the saucepan, and remove the pod.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar. Add the milk and mix until homogeneous.
Pour into 6 medium-size ramekins. Place the ramekins in the oven and cook for 50 minutes. The cream must be set, but still trembling.
Let set in the fridge for at least 4 hours. This step is very important. If you do not wait long enough, the crème will stay liquid and it will be impossible to burn the top. You can make it the day before and leave it to rest in the fridge overnight.
When ready to serve, top each crème with a thin layer of brown sugar.
a)Burn with a propane torch: Use a small propane torch to "burn" the sugar. The sugar should melt and brown. Depending on your taste, you can even wait until it blackens a bit.
The secret to an amazing crackling sugar top is what comes next: top the crèmes again with a second thin layer of brown sugar and torch it. A delicious smell of marshmallows or caramel will fill the air.
b)Burn with the oven broiler: If you do not have a propane torch, put the crèmes under your oven broiler. It should brown/blacken in about 5 minutes.
Wait for a few minutes to serve... et voilà !
You can prepare the crèmes the day before. However, burning the top should be done at the last minute so that it stays crunchy