I bought a blowtorch the other day, and some butane to go into it (I had the boyfriend do that bit). I bought these things purely because I have always wanted to make creme brulee, and I figured now was the time (plus the torch was only $30 at Briscoes. Bless them and their eternal sales).
I found this beautiful recipe for it coming from the Holsts – as in Simon and Alison, or the New Zealand cooking gods – and as it didn’t require anything silly like ‘heavy cream’ (what on Earth is that?) I thought I’d give it a shot. It was perfect, so I’m sharing. With a few minor adjustments, for ingredient tweaks. It fills 4-6 ramekins (I find 4 very full ramekins. Potentially 5 more normal servings).
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
a pinch of salt
4-8 tsp caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius, on a bake setting.
Heat the milk and cream gently in a saucepan until it only just boils. If you’re being properly careful, this should actually take a while.
Whisk together the egg yolks, white sugar, salt and vanilla essence.
Once the milk and cream mixture has boiled, pour into the egg mixture and whisk again. If the mix is lumpy, put it through a sieve.
Pour into ramekins.
Place the ramekins in a roasting dish and pour in enough water (hot. I prefer hot tap hot to jug boiling hot) to fill to halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for an hour, or until the custard has just set. It should be jiggly but not runny (I know, I know. Very technical).
Top each brulee with one or two tsp of caster sugar, then blowtorch (or grill) to caramelise. Let the sugar cool to form a crisp layer, then serve immediately. It doesn’t take long at all to cool, less than a minute.
If using a grill to caramelise, it should take about 2 or 3 minutes.
Seriously, this is the most impressive dessert I’ve made, and by far the easiest. I can’t wait to adjust my recipe. I am thinking apple and cinnamon creme brulee next. Or perhaps chocolate.