I wish life was as simple as Crème Brûlee. Four ingredients, 20 minutes of preparation, few hours to relax after you’ve worked for 20 whole minutes and a divine result to reward your efforts. And at the end you have lots of leftover egg whites to make macarons. That’s as good as it gets, if you ask me.
Since life is not so simple and gracious, you can always make yourself some Crème Brûlee to sweeten things up. Being one of the easiest French dessert to put together, no wonder it is always highly praised by the home cook and at the same time, one of the most devoured treats. It is definitely a favorite in my house.
I very rarely repeat a dessert recipe. There are so many dishes to taste, that I would always choose something new and challenging for the good old familiar meal. But Crème Brûlee is something I find myself doing again and again, because someone always requests it or just because I need something easy that makes people WOW. Besides I have a very straightforward recipe, the only dessert recipe I know by heart. So no matter the occasion or the audience Crème Brûlee is always a winner. It always was, it always will be.
- 1 liter (4 cups + 2 tablespoons) heavy cream
- 1 vanilla pod
- 10 egg yolks
- 150 gr. (3/4 cups) sugar
- 8 tablespoons brown sugar for the crust
- Preheat your oven to 140°C/280°F.
- Start by pouring the heavy cream in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Split the vanilla bean horizontally and scrape the seeds. Add the pod and seeds to the cream and place the pan over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until it reaches the boiling point and remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large stainless steel bowl with a wire whisk until sugar is dissolved, but don’t incorporate too much air.
- Remove the vanilla pod from the cream and very gently pour a little portion into the egg and sugar mixture while stirring constantly to temper the egg yolks.
- Pour the remaining cream into the egg yolks, while stirring.
- Pass the mixture thorough a fine sieve, to make sure it is smooth and there are no little particles of cooked egg.
- Place 8 ramekins in a deep baking pan.
- Fill the ramekins with the custard. Transfer the pan into the oven and carefully pour boiling water into the pan, in between the ramekins.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until the custard is set but a little wobbly in the center.
- Let cool at room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for 2-3 hours.
- After the crème brulee is cold and fully set, sprinkle the surface of each ramekin with ½ tablespoon brown sugar and using a kitchen torch caramelize the sugar. Let cool for a few minutes and sprinkle the remaining sugar, ½ tablespoon over the first layer. Caramelize it with the torch. That way the crust will stay crunchy for longer and will not soften if you leave it in the refrigerator for a day.