Creme Brulee, which literally means 'burnt cream' in French, is a classic dessert that is coming back into fashion. Traditionally, it is a vanilla flavoured set custard with a thin layer of hard toffee on top but can also be flavoured with chocolate, coffee, liqueur, lemon or orange. I have not had many creme brulees in my time, so it was never something I really wanted to make. But, when a friend posted on my facebook page asking me to make it, a lot of other people jumped on board the idea so I thought I would give it a crack. For my first attempt I have held tradition and made a vanilla custard, however, I am very keen to try a coffee creme brulee in the future!
600mL thickened cream
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup + 2 tbs caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 150°C. Place a folded tea towel in the bottom of a baking dish and evenly space 6 x 3/4 cup capacity ramekins on top. Put a kettle full of water on to boil.
Step 2 - Place cream and vanilla in a small-medium saucepan and heat over low for 5-8 minutes or until cream just starts to simmer. Do not boil.
Step 3 - In a large bowl, whisk yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until combined. Pour cream into mixture in a slow and steady stream, whisking constantly. Carefully skim any frothy bubbles from the top of the mixture and discard.
Step 4 - Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a large jug then evenly distribute between ramekins. Pour boiling water into dish until it has risen to 1/2 way up the ramekins. Carefully place tray in oven and cook for 35-40 minutes, until custard has just set.
Step 5 - Remove ramekins from tray and set aside for 30 mins to cool, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Step 6 - Turn grill onto high heat. Sprinkle the 2 tbs sugar over custards, about 1 teaspoon on each. Place under grill for 2-3 minutes, until sugar has melted, turned golden and is bubbling slightly. Cool for 5 minutes at room temperature, then return to fridge for half an hour to harden toffee and reset custard.