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Rich and creamy yet light to the taste, this is one dessert you should definitely have in your arsenal for dinner parties.
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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Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!