5 simple ingredients that produce such a decadent and satisfying result.
It has to be one of the most heavenly ways to really savour the complex flavour notes a fine vanilla bean.
750ml (3 cups) pouring cream
1 vanilla bean, split length-ways and seeds scraped
6 egg yolks
75g (⅓ cup) castor sugar
Extra 110g (½ cup) to make toffee for finishing the tops
Preheat the oven to 160C. Place six 160ml (⅔ cup) heatproof ramekins in a large roasting pan.
Put the cream with the vanilla seeds and pods in a medium saucepan and bring almost to the boil. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until combined. Whisk in the hot cream mixture until just combined trying to avoid any forth or bubbles. Strain the custard into a jug and divide evenly among the ramekins. Use a tablespoon to remove any air bubbles from the surface of each custard.
Add enough boiling water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 20 minutes or until the custards are just set, but still a little wobbly in the centre when the you shake the ramekins. Transfer the custards to a wire rack and set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly, then place in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 3 hours or until well chilled.
To serve the creme brulees, they need the hard toffee layer on top. The crunch of the toffee contrasts beautifully with the smooth set custard inside.
Sprinkle the custards evenly with the extra sugar and use a kitchen blowtorch to caramelise the sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the caramel to cool and set before serving.
If you don’t have a blowtorch you can make a toffee on the stove top and pour a small amount into the top 0f each ramekin.
Make the toffee by adding the extra sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small heavy-based saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, brushing down the side of the pan often with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals. Cook, without stirring, for 5 minutes or until the syrup is deep golden and sets hard if a drop is popped into cold water.
Pour evenly over the chilled custards and set aside for 1 minute or until the caramel sets.
Serve with fresh or poached fruits. My favourite is fresh cherries in vanilla-balsamic dessert dressing.
Don’t forget to #reuse the pods after straining from the infused custard. Simply wash under cold water to remove the dairy remnants. Pat dry and pop into your sugar bowl.