Crème Brulee is an impressive dessert. If breaking out a torch to melt the brown sugar on top seems like too much, don’t worry. You can finish these in the oven under the broiler.
9 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
- To make the custard, mix the egg yolks, salt, and the granulated sugar together until they are combined.
- Heat the cream in a saucepan on medium heat until it just starts to bubble, not boil. Gradually stir in the hot cream into the sugar and egg mixture. Add the vanilla.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place a folded towel in the bottom of a baking dish. The towel will insulate the custard from heat on the bottom of the pan. Set 4 eight-ounce or 8 four-ounce ramekins on the towel. Divide the custard mixture between the ramekins. Set the baking dish with the ramekins on the shelf of the oven. Carefully pour hot water in the pan—without splashing water into the ramekins—until the water is halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the custard is just set.
- Let cool in the pan with the water, then remove the ramekins from the baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or until chilled.
- Use a paper towel to dab up condensation on the tops of the desserts. Sprinkle the tops with an even coating of brown sugar. Place the rack high in the oven and set the oven to the broiler setting. The tops of the ramekins should be close to the broiler.
- Heat for a few minutes under the broiler, just long enough for the brown sugar to caramelize. Serve immediately or return to the refrigerator to chill.
Baker’s Notes: Baking times for the custard vary substantially and depend on the pans used, how hot the water is, and how deep it is. You should bake until the custard is gently set.
You want to heat the brown sugar quickly so that it does not heat the custard. Of course, you can use a blow torch. Serve the same day or the caramel topping will become soft. We sometimes place the ramekins in the freezer to chill more quickly. Do not let the custards freeze.