Crème Brûlée is one of those classic French dessert recipes that chefs seem to insist on “enhancing”: adding bits of fruit, nuts or – worse still – oatmeal! I suppose their reasoning is that nobody could possibly be interested in such a simple dessert in these complex foodie days.
Well, they are wrong. Crème Brûlée is Crème Brûlée. It is beautiful, it is perfect and it doesn’t need fiddling with. But, if you want to add foreign bodies to it, then it isn’t Crème Brûlée anymore. Got it? Good!
Ingredients for 4 servings:
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 240 ml cream 30-35% unsweetened
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp light brown or white sugar
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees.
- Beat egg yolks with sugar and vanilla extract until creamy.
- Heat cream almost to a boil and gently stir in the beaten yolks, stirring constantly all the time until thickened – this indicates that the eggs have begun to cook slightly (you should have a smooth custard the consistency of double cream – a grainy texture means it’s been over-cooked and you’ll have to start all over again).
- Strain through a fine sieve into a large jug, then use this to fill 4 ramekins about two thirds full.
- Place the ramekins in a deep pot, pour hot water into it-water should reach the middle of the trays with cream. This will allow the cream evenly browned. Observe the water-it shouldn’t boil-if necessary, during baking add some cold water.
- Place on the center shelf and bake for 40 minutes to one hour, or until the custards are just set and still a bit wobbly in the middle.
- Remove the cream from the water bath, cool it for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.
- When you’re ready to serve, evenly sprinkle one level teaspoon of caster sugar over the surface of each Crème, then caramelise with a blowtorch. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then enjoy one of France’s greatest contributions to eating pleasure!