Creamy and rich egg yolk custard finished with a caramelized sugar topping. This is a stunning dessert.
Recipe type: Easy Recipe Recipe Type: Dessert | Baked Custard | Caramelized Sugar
Serves: 8 servings
Equipment: 8 4½-inch wide shallow ramekins, Large baking dish or roasting pan, Kitchen Torch Method: Stovetop and Oven Oven Temp: 300° Storage: Cover and Refrigerate
- 7 large egg yolks
- 4 cups heavy (whipping) cream
- ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 vanilla bean
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. You will need 8 4½-inch wide and shallow ramekins. If you use deeper ramekins you may need to adjust the baking time.
Prepare one large baking dish or roasting pan, large enough to hold 8 ramekins; place a kitchen towel or non-stick baking mat in bottom of pan. Tip: Place a kitchen towel or non-stick baking mat in bottom of pan to help keep the ramekins in place while baking so they don’t move around in the water. A non-stick baking mat also works well. The ramekins should have enough room to fit in the pan without touching each other.
Bring a tea kettle or pot of water on the stovetop to boil, then remove from the heat.
- Place egg yolks in a large-size mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pan, combine cream and half of the sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons.)
- Vanilla Bean: Use a small sharp kitchen knife to cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise on a cutting board. Separate the two halves. Use the back (non-sharp) side of the knife to scrape out the vanilla seeds. Add the vanilla bean seeds and the scraped out vanilla bean pods to the pan with the cream and sugar.
- Heat the cream, sugar, and vanilla beans and pods over medium-low heat just until the mixture starts to steam and bubble around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat. Set aside while preparing the egg yolks.
- Whisk the egg yolks using a wire whisk, then add the remaining ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt, and whisk until thoroughly blended.
- Temper the Eggs: Very slowly, in a thin stream, use a ladle or measuring cup to pour about ½ cup of the hot crème mixture into the beaten eggs while quickly whisking the two together with a wire whisk. Add two more ladles of the cream mixture, one at a time, while continuing to whisk. Then gradually whisk in the remaining cream mixture. Remove and discard the vanilla bean pods. Tip: Whisking too much will cause the hot cream to create foam. Most of the foam can be removed by pouring the hot mixture through a fine mish sieve over a mixing bowl.
- Pour or ladle the hot crème into the ramekins, dividing evenly, leaving about ¼-inch from the top of the ramekin. Carefully place the filled ramekins into the prepared baking dish or roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven, and carefully pour hot water into the baking dish, adding just enough water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Important: Be very careful not to get any of the hot water inside the ramekins as this can cause the custard to not bake evenly.
- Bake: Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until crème’s are just set. Tip: The crème is done when the edges are set but the center jiggles slightly when the ramekins are lightly jarred or tapped with a spoon.
- Remove the pan from the oven, being careful not to splash any hot water into the crèmes. Remove the ramekins from the hot-water and place on a wire cooling rack to cool. Tip: slide a metal spatula under the ramekins and carefully lift out of the hot water.
- Let crèmes cool to room temperature, 30 to 60 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days before serving. The crèmes will finish setting in the refrigerator.
- Brûlée: When ready to serve, sprinkle about 1½ tablespoons of sugar over each ramekin. Rotate and tap the ramekin to evenly distribute the sugar over the crème.
- Working with one ramekin at a time, use a kitchen torch to caramelize (Brûlée) the sugar. Hold the torch 2 to 4 inches away from the top of the ramekin, and move in a circular motion over sugar until the sugar bubble and turns amber. As the sugar cools it will form a hard surface.
- You can serve immediately, or place the Crème Brûlée’s back in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to rechill the top of the crème before serving.