Classic Creme Brulee
Lissen up! It’s not necessary to buy crème brûlée pre-made or in tetra packs that you pour and bake. It’s just cream, sugar and egg yolks, whisked together in approximately one minute. The key is the bain-marie – a French term for hot water bath, which allows the custards to cook gently and evenly. Although it sounds fancy, a bain-marie is no more than a baking dish with water in it. If you don’t want to brûlée – broil or torch – the tops, omit the sugar topping and call it a pot de crème. Doesn’t “pudding” sound fancier in French?
5 large egg yolks
1/3 c. sugar
2 c. whipping cream or 18% coffee cream
1/2 t. pure vanilla
sugar, for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Whisk in the cream and vanilla.
Divide the cream mixture among 4 to 6 small ramekins, and place them in a roasting pan or a 9”x13” pan. Fill the pan with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins, and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the crème brûlée is set but still slightly jiggly in the middle. Take the ramekins out of the oven, let them cool to room temp, then refrigerate them for a few hours, or overnight, until nice and cold.
Sprinkle an even layer of sugar over each dish and caramelize the sugar with a torch, or transfer the ramekins to a cookie sheet and place them under the broiler in the oven for about 2 minutes, just until the sugar is caramelized and golden. Turn the sheet around if you need to help the tops caramelize evenly. Refrigerate the crèmes again, or just let them sit on the countertop while you eat dinner or make coffee, just until the sugar is set and crackly. Serves 4 to 6.