Classic Crème Brûlée
This classic version of one of France's signature desserts is surprisingly easy to make.
Hands-on: 20 to 30 min | Bake: 28 to 35 min | Yield: 4 servings
- 2 cups heavy cream (or 1 cup Half-and-Half and 1 cup heavy cream)
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (Demerara or coarse white sparkling sugar work well)
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Pour the cream into a 1 quart saucepan, and heat the cream just until it almost comes to a boil. Remove it from the heat.
- Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the hot cream a little at a time; mix well.
- Stir in the vanilla bean paste.
- Pour the custard through a fine sieve or strainer, and pour it into four heart molds, or 1/2-cup capacity ramekins about 2" tall.
- Place the molds or ramekins in a large baking pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the dishes.
- Bake until the custard is set but still a bit jiggly in the center, about 30 minutes.
- Remove the dishes from the water and let cool completely.
- Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or up to overnight; no need to cover.
- To serve, sprinkle the sugar evenly over the custards. For easiest caramelizing, run a torch evenly over the tops of the custards until the sugar is a deep golden brown. Or caramelize the sugar by placing molds or ramekins under the oven's broiler; watch carefully, as a broiler element can turn sugar from browned to burned quickly.