The allure of creme brulee, French for "burnt cream," is in the textural contrast between the brittle caramelized topping and the smooth, creamy custard beneath.
- Yield: Makes 6
Source: Martha Bakes, January 2011
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 7 large egg yolks
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a small saucepan, combine cream, vanilla bean and seeds, and 3/4 cup granulated sugar; place over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan. Do not boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl; while whisking constantly, slowly add hot cream mixture to egg yolks. Continue whisking until smooth. Strain custard mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large liquid measuring cup; discard solids.
Place six shallow 7-ounce ramekins in a roasting pan; transfer roasting pan to oven. Fill each ramekin to the top with custard mixture. Add enough hot water to baking pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until custard is set and trembles slightly when shaken, about 40 minutes.
Remove ramekins from water bath and transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 30 minutes. Transfer ramekins to refrigerator and let chill for at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.
To serve, sprinkle each ramekin of custard with 1 tablespoon remaining granulated sugar. Using a kitchen torch held 4 to 5 inches from the surface, melt sugar using a slow and even motion, until sugar is caramelized. Serve immediately.