Shifting gears a bit from Kripalu….right now it’s recipe time, as I’ve had a request. My friend “K” was looking for a recipe for a Classic Creme Brulee and so she hollered in my direction. Here it is, K! Plain and simple. Perfect for Easter and beyond, whenever you are in the mood for decadence and torches. I have to be honest, the propane part of this recipe kept me from making it until this past Christmas. Truly. I had never made it before, even despite the fact that it is my husband’s favorite dessert. After the flaming Banana cake incident, I’ve been a little gun shy in the kitchen when it comes to flames. But, I dove in and it was easier than I thought. And SO worth it. This is a gem of a recipe. Fire up that propane and enjoy! We have Cook’s Illustrated to thank for wrangling out the pesky details for us and perfecting this classic dessert. May it add enjoyment to your holiday weekend!
*Note: Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks after the cream has finished steeping: if left to sit, the surface of the yolks will dry and form a film (ew). A vanilla bean gives the best flavor, but 2 tsp. of vanilla extract, whisked into the yolks can be used instead. Go for the bean, though! Penzey’s has them.
1 vanilla bean
4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
12 large egg yolks (holy cow…or chicken)
8-12 tsp. turbinado or Demerara sugar
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat to 300 degrees. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using tip of paring knife, scrape out seeds. Combine vanilla beans and seeds, 2 cups of cream, sugar and salt in medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Off heat, let steep for 15 minutes. This could almost be served as a hot drink. Super yum.
Place baking towel in bottom of large baking dish or roasting pan. Set 8 (4 or 5 oz.) ramekins or shallow fluted creme brulee dishes on towel (they shouldn’t touch). Bring kettle of water to boil.
After cream has steeped, stir in remaining 2 cups cream. Whisk egg yolks in large bowl. Whisk about 1 cup cream mixture into yolks until combined. Repeat with 1 more cup of cream mixture. Add remaining cream mixture and whisk until evenly colored and thoroughly combined. Strain mixture through strainer/sieve into large liquid measuring cup or bowl; discard any solids from strainer. Pour mixture and divide evenly between ramekins/dishes.
Set baking dish on rack. DO NOT SPLASH any water into the ramekins, pour enough boiling water into baking dish/roasting pan to reach two-thirds up sides of ramekins. Bake until center of custards are just barely set (30-35 minutes or 25-30 minutes for shallow dishes). Check 5 minutes before recommended minimum time.
Transfer ramekins to wire rack to cool. Then set dishes on baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours.
Uncover ramekins. If condensation has collected on custards, gently blot with a paper towel. Sprinkle each with about 1 tsp. turbinado sugar (1.5 tsp. for shallow fluted dishes). Tilt and tap to evenly distribute sugar. Dump out excess. Ignite torch and carmelize sugar. Refrigerate to re-chill, 30-40 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
This recipe is easier than it seems. Trust me. Don’t you just want to tap, tap, tap on that sugary crust right now?