Orange Honey Crème Brûlée

Crème brûlée works so well because it has a delicious brittle layer of toffee on top of a soft creamy base. The orange and honey in this recipe add a little twist to a wonderful classic.

Ingredients

  • 180 ml (6 fl oz) runny light honey
  • 650 ml (about 1 pint) cream
  • 250 ml (8 fl oz) milk
  • finely grated zest of 2 oranges
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthways, seeds scraped out
  • 9 egg yolks
  • 3–4 tablespoons demerara sugar

Method

Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2. Make a bain-marie by placing a roasting dish on a shelf in the middle of the oven and pouring in boiling water to a depth of 3 cm (1 ¼ in).

Place honey, cream, milk, orange zest, vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan and bring gently to the boil. Remove from heat, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

Bring cream back to a simmer. Lightly whisk egg yolks. Slowly pour hot cream onto yolks, whisking as you go, then pour mixture through a sieve.

Divide mixture between six 1 cup ramekins and carefully place in the roasting tray. If necessary, add extra boiling water to the roasting pan so that it comes three-quarters of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake 35 minutes. The crèmes should still be slightly wobbly. If you notice that the crèmes are bubbling in their dishes, the oven is too hot, so open the door and pour half a cup of very cold water into the bain-marie to cool it down a little.

Once cooked, turn the oven off and very carefully take the bain-marie from the oven (the roasting dish is full ofvery hot water, so be careful). Remove ramekins from the bain-marie and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for 4 or more hours, covered, until they have set firm.

Just before serving, sprinkle demerara sugar in a thin layer on top of each brûlée. Place under a very hot grill (or use a cook’s blowtorch) until a thin layer of caramel forms. Keep an eye on them as they will go from sugar to burnt toffee quite quickly. Stand 1 minute before serving, as the toffee will burn your lips.