Easy Crème Brûlée

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Crème brûlée is simply creamy custard with a crunchy, caramelized top. You may omit the caramelizing and serve this recipe as plain custard, topped with berries or grated chocolate.

Difficulty: Medium

Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 5 hours 30 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbsp. granulated sugar for caramelizing

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Put 6 ramekins (4-ounce porcelain cups used for baking custards and soufflés) in a 2-inch-deep baking dish; set aside.
  • In a saucepan heat the half-and-half, cream, and ½ cup sugar to melt the sugar. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • In a large bowl, briefly whisk egg yolks. Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding ½ cup of the hot mixture in and whisking to combine; this will raise the temperature of the egg yolks and minimize curdling. Slowly whisk the remaining hot mixture into the egg yolks. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the custard into a pitcher.
  • Pour the hot custard into the ramekins, dividing it evenly. Pour hot water into the baking dish around the ramekins to come halfway up the ramekins. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, and then check to see if custard is set by carefully jiggling the pan. If the custard is not set, cover and bake for 10 more minutes. Check again; if necessary, cover pan again and bake another 10 minutes or so, until set. Remove from oven and uncover if necessary. When ramekins are cool enough to handle, remove them from the water to finish cooling. Refrigerate until completely chilled, about 4 hours.
  • To caramelize, sprinkle the top of each custard with about 1 tablespoon of sugar. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and use a propane torch to caramelize the sugar.