I went out to dinner with some friends the other evening and ordered crème brûlée for dessert. It was lovely—crispy sugar crust and creamy custard underneath. I'm a bit of crème brûlée fan and order it more often than I order any other restaurant dessert, which is not to say I always order dessert—only now and then. On my way home, I remembered I had a crème brûlée kit at home with ramekins, a torch, and a basic recipe. I love the torch.
So, now I have made my favorite dessert at home, and I recommend that everyone have crème brûlée. It makes the world better. I used the recipe on the box, which was simple and basic. My only suggestion for improvement is to use less sugar for the caramelized crust. It was so thick, it was like chipping away at glass. An ice pick would have come in handy, or a diamond. Other recipes suggest 1/4 cup to be divided among six ramekins, making just over 1 tablespoon per serving.
1 cup heavy cream
2 extra large egg yolks (I used 3 regular organic)
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup* sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300˚F. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream and 2 tablespoons sugar; cook, stirring occasionally until small bubbles appear around edges of pan, 5 to 6 minutes.
In a bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla until smooth and light. Pour hot cream mixture into egg yolks a little at a time, beating continuously until well blended. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Divide among four 4-oz. ramekins.
Arrange ramekins in a baking pan and place on middle shelf of preheated oven. Fill pan with boiling water to halfway up sides of ramekins. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil (I confess to forgetting this step, and it didn't seem to matter. No other recipes call for this anyway). Bake until custard is just set, about 25 minutes. Chill 2 to 3 hours.
Sprinkle remaining sugar (*I really think 1/3 cup is excessive) over top of cooled custards. With torch, move the flame continuously over the surface of the ramekins in a circular motion until sugar melts and becomes golden brown and bubbly.
I have a cookbook of nothing but crème brûlée recipes. Next time I'll dip into that and make the chocolate espresso recipe.