Crème Brûlée with Two Seasonal Topping Options
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Rest Time: 4 hours
Equipment: saucepan, mixing bowl, electric whisk or beater, 8 ramekins, deep-sided baking or roasting pan, ladle, kitchen torch
2 cups milk
3 cups heavy cream or crème fraîche liquide
8 egg yolks
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or the seeds from a vanilla bean pod
½ to 1 cup brown sugar
Seasonal fruit and herbs
Preheat oven to 215°F.
In a saucepan, combine the milk with the cream and bring to a boil. Lower heat to keep warm.
Combine the egg yolks, white sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Using a whisk or beater, blend until smooth. Temper the egg batter, mixing in the warm milk and cream mixture one tablespoon at a time. This ensures your egg mixture won't cook. Then slowly add the mixture to the milk and cream; mix well.
Set the ramekins in a baking pan. Add just enough water so the ramekins are almost halfway submerged—a bain-marie. Using a ladle, fill the ramekins with the mixture. Gently place the baking pan in the oven, careful not to slosh water into the ramekins. Bake for 55 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, again being careful not to get water in the ramekins. Let the ramekins cool, then refrigerate for a minimum of four hours.
Before serving, sprinkle each ramekin with brown sugar, covering the mixture- around 1/2 tablespoon. Caramelize the sugar topping using a kitchen torch.
In the spring or summer, top your crème brulée with fresh sliced strawberries marinated in cognac. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary or basil.
In the fall or winter, top your crème brulée with spicy red wine–poached pear slices and garnish with a star anise.