Whenever I make macarons, I find myself invariably whipping up crème brûlée just to get rid of all the egg yolks. This rich and creamy dessert is surprisingly easily to make with just a few simple ingredients - egg yolks, sugar and whipping (or heavy) cream.
I love breaking through the thin crisp caramelized surface to get to the luscious custard hidden beneath.
This version here is my favourite - vanilla bean.
Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée (Adapted from Crème Brûlée by Sara Lewis, makes 6 servings)
1 vanilla bean pod
2 1/2 cups whipping or heavy cream
8 egg yolks
1/4 cup fine granulated sugar
3 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1. Place a rack on the middle rung of your oven and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
1. Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise and put it into a medium saucepan. Pour the cream in and heat it until it almost boils. Take off the burner and allow to stand for 20 minutes for the vanilla flavour to develop.
2. Remove the vanilla bean from the cream and scrape the black seeds into the cream. Put the bean casing aside or discard it *.
3. Mix the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with a fork. Reheat the cream and gradually mix it into the eggs and sugar. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan.
4. Place 6 ramekins in a roasting pan and divide the custard between them. Pour warm water into the pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the custards are just set and the centre is still soft.
6. Leave the ramekins to cool in the water. Lift them out when cooled and refridgerate for 3-4 hours.
7. Sprinkle the tops with the icing sugar and cameralize with a blow torch **.
8. Leave at room temperature for 10 minutes to allow the top to harden, then serve.
* The vanilla bean casing can be rinsed and left to dry at room temperature, or in an oven at its lowest setting. Store the casing(s) in the sugar canister to flavour your sugar or grind them in a blender and mix into the sugar.
** If you don’t have a blowtorch, place the ramekins on a pan under the preheated grill in your oven with the door open. Rotate the pan to brown the custard tops evenly. This will happen quickly, so keep a close watch.