Crème brûlée

21 Sep

Crème brûlée

Crème brûlée is – without a doubt – my favourite dessert. I love the moment when you crack the crust of caramelised sugar, and the shards shift apart to reveal the creamy custard waiting beneath. I’m already happy before I even raise the first spoonful to my mouth…

Until now, all my crème brûlée moments have occurred in restaurants. But the fourth Great British Bake-off signature bake was crème brûlée, so it was time to give it a go.

My biggest concern was producing a decent crust of caramelised sugar. The contestants were limited to using the oven grill. That might work in the Bake-off tent, but our home grill is a feeble, lopsided coathanger shaped thing that stumbles over the most basic grilling challenges.

Providentially, I received a kitchen blow torch for my birthday last week. That baby easily reduced a sprinkling of caster sugar to a smoldering mass that cooled to a lovely, glassy crust.

I divided the mixture into four standard-sized Le Creuset ramekins, which resulted in  generous portions. Next time I make it, I’ll divide it between six ramekins. As delicious as crème brûlée is, a little goes a long way…

Crème brûlée
(serves 4 to 6)

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 50g (1/4 cup) caster sugar (plus 6 tsp for the topping)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 450ml (about 1 3/4 cups) double cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or  1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste)
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Beat the egg yolks, 50g of sugar and salt together until they thicken slightly. Set aside.
  3. In a small pot, whisk together the cream and vanilla seeds. Add the scraped pod to the mixture.
  4. Heat over medium-low until bubbles appear around the edges of the pot. Take off the heat and remove the vanilla pod.
  5. Very slowly whisk the warm cream into the egg mixture using a wire whisk.
  6. Set a fine sieve over a measuring jug and strain the custard to remove any solids.
  7. Divide the custard between four to six ramekins, pouring carefully to avoid creating bubbles.
  8. Place the ramekins in a deep roasting tray, then fill with hot water to the same height as the custard. Cover loosely with tin foil, and bake for 30-40 minutes until the custard is set around the edges but still a bit wobbly in the middle.
  9. Remove from the roasting tray and cool on a wire rack for half an hour before transferring (uncovered) to the fridge to chill completely.
  10. Once the custards are completely cold, cover with clingfilm until needed.
  11. When you are ready to caramelise the custards, sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar evenly over the surface of each ramekin. Either place the ramekins under a hot grill or melt the sugar using a kitchen blow-torch.
  12. Leave the sugar to cool and harden for a few minutes, then serve immediately before the sugar softens.

5 Responses to “Crème brûlée”

  1. Margo September 21, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

    I have never had the courage to try this either, but yours does look great! A blow torch would be the game changer, as I have a wimpy broiler too.

    • Andrea September 21, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

      I was not looking forward to using the grill – I feared the cream would be completely melted by the time the sugar caramelised.

  2. Nandini September 21, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

    I love Creme Brulee and this looks so good Andrea 🙂

  3. The Hungry Mum September 23, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

    yes please! Looks delish.

  4. Bobby Soufflé February 26, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

    Looks delicious Andrea

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