The ultimate créme brulée

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MTV boyfriend is a man of fairly simple tastes. Naturally he likes his meat and three veg. He loves a great piece of medium rare steak, scones with jam and cream, the Carte Dor brand of vanilla ice cream (after extensive testing he has pronounced it superior to all the gourmet brands) and… créme brulée. I am not sure where he developed his fancy tastes for créme brulée but he is certainly hooked and orders it in every restaurant he can. Being the good girlfriend I am I decided to learn to make créme brulée so that MTV boyfriend could indulge at home as well.

Blow torch in action
 
The first step in the process was to buy a blow torch. The Kitchen Craft Cook’s Blowtorch
on Amazon is pretty cheap. You can caramelise the top of a créme brulée under a very hot grill but our grill is not that good and let’s face it your own blow torch is so much more fun. Then I set about testing recipes. I had a few flops along the way where the créme brulée came out bearing more than a passing resemblance to custard, but finally (thanks in part to a cooking course in Paris) I nailed it. Let me present to you the ultimate créme brulée recipe.
 
Ingredients
6 egg yolks (save the whites and use for meringues)
500ml cream
180g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean

The finished product, slightly overdid it on the blow torching on this one but still delicious
 
1. Preheat the oven to 110C.
2. Add cream and vanilla bean (split in half) to a pan and bring to the boil.
3. Whisk the egg yolks with 120g of the sugar.
4. Pour the boiling cream over the egg and sugar mixture gradually so that you temper the eggs and mix well.
5. Divide the mixture between six small ramekins or créme brulée moulds. Place these ramekins in an oven tray and fill it with water until the water reaches the halfway up the ramekins.
6. Cook for 50 mins or until the mixture is set but still quivers almost like jelly.
7. Cool outside for one hour then chill in the fridge for at least three hours.
8. Before serving sprinkle the top of the mixture with the remaining sugar so that it is evenly spread. Then pop under the grill to caramelise or whip out your blow torch.
 
Serves 6.
 
Links
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my post on the cooking course in Paris or a recipe for the perfect meal to have pre créme brulée, moules mariniere.
 

12 comments

  1. You *are* a good girlfriend! I actually love creme brulee when it’s a bit burned on top (i.e., I am a fan of over-zealous use of the blow torch). Thanks for the recipe – now all I need is a torch . . . .

  2. Creme Brulee is a great dessert and the recipe you show is a traditional one where you bake it. But you must try the Constance Spry version (probably the book I turn to most of my 200+ recipe books!). Much the same method, but no baking, a much softer and luxurious texture, with beautiful contrast between rich creamy creme and lovely caramelised sugar top. I have to say it gets my vote for ultimate creme brulee recipe – I only base this on the offers of marriage from the (already married!?) ladies of the office when I made some and took them in for them a few Christmases ago.

    Mike

  3. Love a good Creme Brulee. A friend of mine recently gave me a good tip for the caramelisation. Get a water sprayer/plant mister type thing and give the sugar a quick mist before you torch it. Supposedly makes it come out much more even.

  4. Good on you! Hope MTV BF was uber appreciative!

    We are making creme brulee at cooking school on Friday so will let you know if I get any tips!

  5. I agree with An American in London. I like it as brown as possible on top, almost black. I also use a secret blend of sugars (shhh!) in a thicker layer than normal.

  6. Have never made this at home but always order it out. As I’m renovating my place at the mo I have a blowtorch handy! Brilliant store cuboard dessert recipe – thanks

  7. An American in London – oh good I shall say the burning is deliberate then.

    Ricey – thanks for the tip I will look it up – always keen to try a variation!

    Dan – water sprayer – wow sounds professional

  8. Is that a good blow torch?
    I bought one for £25 at John Lewis and it was rubbish…masterchef it was called or something

  9. Lex Eat – please do!

    Neil – Do tell about this secret blend… brown sugar mixed with caster or do you use vanilla sugar or something fancy like that?

    Graphic Foodie – that will probably be a hard core blow torch as well rather than my weak little kitchen one…

  10. Underground Restaurant – It is perfect for my purposes but I wonder if it would be enough for yours actually running a restaurant. I have heard that industrial blow torchs rather than kitchen ones are the way to go.

  11. LOl at boyfriend’s random taste. My husband is like that. he’ll say he likes simple meals but then tell me that he can taste the difference between waters!

  12. Lorraine – men what can you do!

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