I’ve never been quite sure if this originates from France or England, but I’ve always called it crème brûlée. It sounds a lot tastier than ‘burnt cream’. This recipe is very similar to the Anglaise Sauce but is cooked in a slightly different way and certainly has a different finish.

Read more

Ingredients

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
  • 600 ml (1 pint) (double) cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split, or a few drops of good vanilla essence
  • Icing sugar

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Mix the egg yolks and sugar together well in a bowl. Bring the cream to the boil with the vanilla pod, if using. Remove the vanilla pod and scrape the insides into the cream. Now whisk the cream into the egg yolks and sugar. Sit the bowl over a pan of hot water and heat until the custard begins to thicken, stirring all the time. It should have the consistency of single cream. It is now ready for the next stage.

Divide the custard between six 7.5 cm (3 in) ramekins or moulds. Sit these in a roasting tin and add warm water until it comes three-quarters up the sides of the moulds. Finish in the pre-heated oven until just setting, about 20–30 minutes. To test, remove one of the moulds from the water after 20 minutes and shake gently. There should still be slight movement in the centre of the custard. If it is still runny, put it back in the oven and check after another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. I prefer to eat these at room temperature, so I do not put them in the fridge.

To finish the brûlées, when set sprinkle them liberally with icing sugar. If you have a blow torch, this is great for achieving a quick and even glaze! If not, then colour them under a pre-heated hot grill, having the moulds as close as possible to the heat. As the sugar is heating, it will bubble and start to colour. More sugar may need to be added and then continue to colour until deep golden brown. The brûlée is now ready to serve.

Variation

You can make chocolate brûlées by simply adding grated chocolate to the mix before putting it into the ramekins. About 100 g (4 oz) of good-quality plain chocolate should be enough for this recipe – but of course if you prefer it stronger, just add some more! The brûlées can be finished with icing sugar, but I think they are better when topped with chocolate shavings.

Loading
Loading
Loading