Crème brûlée

Crème brûlée

Crème Brûleé directly translated means “burnt cream”.  It is a luxurious French dessert that is actually so easy to make!  It consists of a set, sweet custard with a crunchy layer of very dark caramel on top.  There is nothing as satisfying as taking a spoon and cracking through the caramel to get to the velvety cream underneath …

500 ml fresh cream
½ vanilla pod
(alternatively use 5 ml vanilla essence or 2,5 ml vanilla extract)
5 egg yolks
120g (125 ml) castor sugar

For the caramel layer
60g castor sugar or enough to sprinkle even layer on top of each ramekin
blow torch
120g (125 ml) castor sugar
100 ml water

Number of Servings

1. Preheat the oven to 140ºC
2. Halve the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds using a knife – add seeds and pods to the cream in a pot
3. Scald the cream (in other words – bring it to just below boiling point)
4. Remove from the heat and stand for a few minutes to allow the vanilla to infuse the cream
5. Mix the egg yolks and castor just enough (DO NOT cream or over mix! You do not want to incorporate air as it will cause air bubbles in the final product)
6. Remove the vanilla pods from the cream and add slowly to the egg yolk mixture while stirring
7. Transfer to ramekins. Depending on the size of the ramekins, you should be able to fill 10-12 ramekins ¾ full
8. Crème brûleé is baked au bain marie, in other words in a water bath: Take an ovenproof dish with sides at least 5cm deep – put a wet cloth at the bottom of the dish and arrange the ramekins on top. Fill the dish halfway up with water – careful not to get any into the cream mixture
9. Transfer to the oven and bake for approx. 40 minutes or till cooked. You know its cooked when you carefully shake the ramekin and it has a jelly-like wobble to it
10. Remove from the oven and water bath and allow to set in the fridge for a few hours

For the caramel:
The caramel layer on top can be done in two different ways:

Method 1: Blow torch
1. Sprinkle a thin layer of castor sugar on top of each ramekin. I would suggest doing it one-by-one as the sugar easily “melts” due to the cold surface and moisture content
2. Use a blow torch to melt and caramelize the sugar to a dark caramel

Method 2: Caramel syrup
If you do not have a blow torch or are too scared to use one (although it is really not that bad ), you can make a caramel syrup on the stovetop and just pour a thin layer on top of each ramekin
1. Bring the sugar and water to a boil while constantly stirring and making sure all the sugar is dissolved before the mixture starts to boil
2. Stop stirring the moment it starts boiling – continue until the syrup has a dark caramel colour
3. Put the bottom of the pot in cold water to stop the caramel from turning darker
4. Pour a thin layer on top of each cream and put back in fridge for 30 minutes to allow the cream layer that might have melted slightly due to the heat of the caramel to set again



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