Tara O'Brady shows us how to perfect this classic Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée recipe
Caramelized, creamy goodness that will leave you licking the spoon
Choosing our favourite part of a classic crème brulée is is just too tough. Is it the rich silky custard? Cracking the warm sugar layer with a spoon? The contrast of crunch and cream? Whichever it is, there are endless reasons why this dish is one of France’s most popular desserts, and Tara O’Brady of Seven Spoons is about to show us how to make our very own. Elegant, decadent, and comforting — this delightful dessert makes the perfect finale to any soirée!
- 1 L heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- Pinch of salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 2 L hot water
- Fresh fruit for topping (optional)
- 2 ramekins
- Cake or roasting pan
- Tea towel
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Pour the cream into a medium saucepan. Take your vanilla bean and use a knife to split it down the middle — then use the back of the knife to scrape out the seeds inside. Add these to the cream, as well as a sprinkle of salt. Set over medium-low heat and bring to a low simmer. Remove from the heat and cover with a lid.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. (We don’t want to add the whole thing at once, or the eggs might cook).
Pour the mixture through a sieve into a large measuring cup – this will ensure the custard is silky smooth. Crème brulée is made in a bain-marie, so to do that, first place a tea towel in the bottom of a large cake or roasting pan, and place your ramekins on top. Next, pour just enough hot (but not boiling) water into the pan to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Pour your mixture into the ramekins.
Bake just until the crème brulée is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
Sprinkle some white sugar on top of the custard — this is the “brulée” part. Make sure to sprinkle all the way to the edges. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. (If you don’t have a torch, you can pop this under a broiler for a few minutes). Allow the crème brulée to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Serve as is, or add some fresh fruit for a touch of color! Whatever your preference, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a dessert more enticing than this one.