Crème Brûlée

I've been wanting to make this one for a while! I finally bit the bullet and bought some ramekins and a butane torch, and I've never looked back since. Amazon is a dangerous (or wonderful?) place with all the fun kitchen gadgets you could ask for.

Crème Brûlée is something that I've always loved to eat, but seemed strangely difficult to make. This couldn't be farther from the truth though. Five simple ingredients (eggs, half and half, vanilla, sugar, salt) and you're ready to go. And although I must admit it's super fun with a butane torch, I've read other places that using your oven broiler can be another option to get that crispy burnt golden top.


2 cups half and half (or heavy/light cream)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise)
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, plus some extra for the crispy topping

(Recipe adapted from NYT)

First, preheat oven to 325 F.

In a saucepan, combine the half and half with the salt, and heat to medium heat. Let it sit for a few minutes and then add the vanilla extract. If using the vanilla bean, you can heat it with the half and half, just remove after letting the mixture sit.

In a separate bowl, beat the yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir half of the cream mixture into the egg mixture. Mix until homogenous. Then mix this well with the rest of the cream (off heat).

At this time, use a kettle and heat water until boiling. You'll use this later for pouring around the ramekins.

Pour the final mixture into 5 6oz. ramekins. I found that it helped to arrange these in a 8x8 pan. Put the pan into the oven and pour the boiling water around the ramekins until it's about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake 45 min to an hour until the centers are barely set.

Refrigerate for a few hours (can keep up to a few days).

When you're ready to serve, sprinkle a moderate amount (I found a tablespoon or so was enough) of granulated sugar evenly over the top of each custard. Heat with the butane torch until you get a bubbly dark caramel brown topping. Personally I like it when it's borderline burnt.

If using the broiler, put the ramekins into the oven for approximately 5 min until the same desired topping is achieved.

Let the top cool slightly and solidify. Dig in and enjoy!


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