Crème Brûlées – the epitome of decadence. The combination of creamy custard and crispy sugar topping. These desserts are daunting, however once you figure out the technique, it’s easy to replicate. I usually use a butane blowtorch (found at local specialty cook shops), however you can broil the sugar at the end in the oven.
4 cups heavy cream, chilled
2/3 cup granulated sugar
10 large egg yolks
2 tbs vanilla extract
8-12 tsp sugar for the topping
Preheat for 300F. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Place a kitchen towel on the bottom of a large baking dish or roasting pan. place eight 4-to-5 oz ramekins on the towel. Set aside. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
Combine the vanilla, 2 cups of the cream and granulated sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool, for about 15 mins.
Stir in the remaining 2 cups of cream to cool down the mixture.
Whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl until uniform. Whisk about 1 cup of the cream mixture into the yolks until loosened and combined. Repeat with 1 more cup of the cream. Add the remaining cream and whisk until evenly coloured. Ladle the mixture evenly into the ramekins. Distribute evenly among all ramekins.
Gently place the baking dish with the ramekins on the oven rack. Pour the boiling water into the baking dish, being careful not to splash any water into the ramekins, until the water reaches two-thirds of the way up the ramekins.
Bake until the centres of the custards are just barely set (barely giggle) and no longer sloshy, and a digital instant-read thermometer inserted in the centres registers 170 to 175 degrees (about 30-35 mins).
Let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill for a minimum of 4 hours or up to overnight.
When ready to serve, unwrap each ramekin. If the custards have condensation, pat them dry with paper towel. Sprinkle each ramekin with 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of sugar. Dispurse sugar evenly around the surface of the custard.
Caramelize the sugar by holding the end of the flame about 1 inch from the surface of the custard until the sugar melts. The more golden the sugar turns, the stronger the caramel flavour (this includes doing this under the broiler – if broiling, broil with rack in top position for 2-3 mins).
Refrigerate the creme brulees for at least 30 minutes, uncovered. Serve chilled.
Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
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