Crème Brûlé

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Yield:

    12

    portions, about 5 oz

Appears in

Ingredients U.S. Metric
Brown sugar 8 oz 250 g
Egg yolks 12 12
Granulated sugar 6 oz 180 g
Heavy cream, hot 3 pt 1.5 L
Vanilla extract 0.25 oz ( tsp) 8 mL
Salt ¾ tsp 3 g

Method

Procedure

  1. Spread the brown sugar on a pan; dry out in a low oven. Cool, crush, and sift.
  2. Mix together the egg yolks and granulated sugar until well combined.
  3. Gradually stir in the hot cream. Add the vanilla and salt. Strain the mixture.
  4. Set 12 shallow ramekins or gratin dishes, about 1 in. (2.5 cm) deep, on a towel in a sheet pan (the purpose of the towel is to insulate the bottoms of the ramekins from the strong heat). Divide the custard mixture equally among the dishes. Pour enough hot water into the sheet pan to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  5. Bake at 325°F (165°C) until the custard is just set, about 25 minutes.
  6. Cool, then refrigerate.
  7. To finish, first dab any moisture from the tops of the custards. Sprinkle with an even layer of brown sugar. Caramelize the sugar under the broiler; place the custards very close to the heat so the sugar caramelizes quickly before the custard warms up too much (alternatively, use a blowtorch). When it cools, the caramelized sugar will form a thin, hard crust. Serve within an hour or two. If the custards are held too long, the caramel tops will soften.

Variations

Granulated sugar may be used instead of brown sugar. White sugar need not be dried (as in step 1), but it is slightly harder to brown.

For a deluxe version, flavor with vanilla beans instead of extract. Split 2 vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out the tiny seeds. Simmer the pods and seeds with the heavy cream. Remove the pods and continue with the basic recipe.

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