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Crème Brûlée

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

Rich and creamy yet light to the taste, this is one dessert you should definitely have in your arsenal for dinner parties.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Vanilla Bean, Split Lengthwise With Seeds Scraped Out
  • 2 pints Heavy Cream
  • 6 whole Large Egg Yolks
  • ½ cups Vanilla Sugar, Plus Additional For The Crust

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325°F. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

Carefully slice the vanilla bean down the center and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a knife. Pour cream, vanilla bean, and vanilla bean scrapings into a medium pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. When it hits a boil remove pot from heat and cover it, allowing the pot to sit for 15 minutes. Then remove the vanilla bean pod, rinse it off, and allow to dry to be used for something else.

While the warm cream is sitting covered, add egg yolks and 1/2 cup of vanilla sugar to a medium bowl. Whisk vigorously until mixture is well-blended and begins to lighten in color. Add the warm cream a little at a time, stirring constantly.

Place twelve 3-4 ounce ramekins into two cake pans (you may only need one big pan if using fewer, larger ramekins). Ladle liquid cream mixture into ramekins, filling each ramekin pretty close to the top. The custard will not be expanding, so there is no need to leave fill space.

Carefully pour hot water into the cake pans around the ramekins, filling the pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the custard is set but still trembling in the center of each ramekin. Carefully remove the pans from the oven. Remove the ramekins from the pans and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You can keep the crème brûlée in the fridge for up to three days.

About 30 minutes prior to serving, remove the number of ramekins you need and let them sit on the counter to come toward room temperature. Sprinkle enough vanilla sugar over the custard to cover the surface with a thin layer. Using a small kitchen torch, heat the sugar until it liquifies to a golden brown. Once all sugar is caramelized, allow to rest for 2-3 minutes before serving.

Garnish with a few fresh berries if desired.

Adapted slightly from Alton Brown.

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