Regular readers will recall my Cambridge Burnt Cream which is actually the forerunner of crème brulee. Comparing the two, the crème brulee recipe I have chosen is actually slightly richer as it uses more egg yolks. Mmmmm egg yolks.....
We all have our list of ‘things-that-if-someone-doesn’t-like-it-alerts-you-to-the-fact-they-might-be-dodgy’. Creme brulee is definitely on mine; show me someone (without an egg or dairy allergy) who doesn’t like crème brulee and I will conclude they are a wrong ‘un. Those interested in the machinations of my mind might be interested to know that the following randomly selected things also appear on the list: dogs, glove puppets, Eric Cartman, vanilla, cake (gosh, who knew?), Christmas, hedgehogs, the seaside, and Kevin Spacey.
I also wanted to make crème brulee after finding my gorgeous new terracotta dishes. Kitchen and bakeware is a purely emotional thing for me – my brain never questions do I need it? Where will I store it? Doesn’t that other item you bought do the same thing? I see it, I love it, I buy it – a modern twist on Julius Caesar’s ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’. These were purchased from Amazon and I love them so much that I have, on more than one occasion, taken one down from the shelf to stroke it.
Unless my oven is rubbish, and I don’t think it is as I don’t find this with any other recipes, crème brulee always takes longer to cook than the recipe states. You’re meant to remove the dishes from the oven when the custard is set but still wobbly. I always find that, after the recommended cooking time, my custard is still liquid. In case your oven is different, I set out the recommended time and the time mine took in the recipe below.
500ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
100g caster sugar, plus approx 1 tablespoon per ramekin to make the topping
6 egg yolks
This recipe will make 6 portions if using standard sized ramekins. I doubled it up and found this worked fine
How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 140°C/fan oven 120°C/275°F/Gas mark 1.
- Place the cream in a saucepan.
- Slice the vanilla pod in two and scrape the seeds outs. Place both the seeds and the pod in the cream.
- Bring the cream to boiling point then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat the sugar and egg yolks until thick and creamy. It should look almost like yellow whipped cream.
- Bring the cream back up to boiling point then pour through a sieve over the eggs.
- Whisk until the custard thickens slightly.
- Sieve again into a large bowl or jug to ensure there are no lumps.
- Using a ladle, fill your ramekins or dishes. Don’t overfill as you need room for the sugar topping.
- Stand the ramekins in a large roasting tray and pour hot water into the tray so the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake in the oven until the custard is set but still a little wobbly in the centre. The recipe said this would take 30 minutes but mine took an hour.
- Remove from the oven and lift the ramekins out of the water – I found this was easy using a fish slice.
- Leave to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Before serving sprinkle approximately 1 level tablespoon of caster sugar on the top of each custard.
- Using a kitchen blow torch or grill, heat the sugar until it bubbles and caramelises.
- Leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then serve.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.