Crème brûlée, sounds and frankly the way its written looks French, but it originally came from England. This was a little fact I found out when I researched recipes for the National Crème brûlée Day.
I have made Crème brûlée a few times before and ones actually almost accidentally left two ramekins of it in a fridge that was about to be wrapped up in put in a container to Germany (from Melbourne!) but thank god realised this just in time. I think it would have made for a rather disgusting surprise of "Crème bluée" (no pun intended) by the time I welcomed the container in Germany.
So today is National Crème brûlée Day and I took this as a very welcome excuse to make it for dessert today.
The crunch of the sugar coat on top to get to the vanilla speckled custard was perfect and the first spoonful of the creamy custard was as delicious as it looked.
425ml thickened cream (double cream)
100ml full-fat milk
1 vanilla pod
5 large egg yolks
50g golden caster sugar, plus extra for the topping
Preheat the oven to fan 160°C. Place four 175ml ramekins in a deep roasting tin at least 7.5cm deep (or a large deep cake tin), one that will enable a baking tray to sit well above the ramekins when laid across the top of the tin. (We actually pigged out and only made 3 but slightly bigger
Pour the cream into a medium pan with the milk. Lay the vanilla pod on a board and slice lengthways through the middle with a sharp knife to split it in two. Use the tip of the knife to scrape out all the tiny seeds into the cream mixture. Drop the vanilla pod in as well and set aside.
Put the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk whisk until paler in colour and a bit fluffy. Put the pan with the cream on a medium heat and bring almost to the boil. As soon as you see bubbles appear round the edge, take the pan off the heat.
Pour the hot cream into the beaten egg yolks, stirring with a wire whisk as you do so, and scraping out the seeds from the pan. Set a fine sieve over a large wide jug or bowl and pour the hot mixture through to strain it, pushing any stray vanilla seeds through at the end. Using a big spoon, scoop off all the pale foam that is sitting on the top of the liquid and discard. Give the mixture a stir.
Pour in enough hot water from the tap into the roasting tin to come about 1.5cm up the sides of the ramekins. Pour the hot cream into the ramekins so you fill them up right to the top – it’s easier to spoon in the last little bit. Put them in the oven and lay a baking sheet over the top of the tin so it sits well above the ramekins and completely covers them, but not the whole tin, leaving a small gap at one side to allow air to circulate.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the mixture is softly set. To check, gently sway the roasting tin and if the crème brûlées are ready, they will wobble a bit like a jelly in the middle. Don’t let them get too firm.
Lift the ramekins out of the roasting tin with oven gloves and set them on a wire rack to cool for a couple of minutes only, then put in the fridge to cool completely. This can be done overnight without affecting the texture.
When ready to serve sprinkle 1½-2 teaspoons of caster sugar over each ramekin. Use a blow torch to caramelise it. Hold the flame just above the sugar and keep moving it round and round until caramelised. Serve when the brûlée is firm, or within an hour or two.