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Recipe

Vanilla Creme Brulee, Two Ways

  • Yield: 10 to 25 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 8 teaspoons
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 35 wafer cookies

Directions

  • In medium, non-reactive saucepan, combine the cream, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla bean and seeds over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar. Whisk about 2 cups of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture until smooth. Slowly pour this mixture into the hot cream mixture, whisk for 2 minutes, and remove from the heat. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container.
  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Plating 1: Fill 8 (6-ounce) custard cups with equal portions of the mixture. Place the cups in a deep roasting pan or baking dish large enough to accommodate the cups without touching. Fill the roasting pan with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the cups.
  • Bake in the lower third of the oven until just set, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the cups from the water. Let cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Sprinkle each cup with 1 teaspoon sugar. One at a time, using a kitchen blowtorch, approach the sugar with the torch at a low angle until the inner blue flame is 1/4-inch above the surface and move the flame in a continuous motion over the surface until the sugar has caramelized.
  • Or, preheat the broiler, sprinkle the sugar over the custards, and slide the dishes under the broiler. Broil until the sugar caramelizes, 1 to 2 minutes, watching carefully so the custard does not curdle or break. Remove and serve.
  • Before serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the remaining sugar on the top of each custard.
  • Plating 2: Fill a shallow baking dish with the mixture. Place in a medium roasting pan and fill with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the dish.
  • Bake in the lower third of the oven until just set, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the cups from the water. Let cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • To serve, arrange 25 to 35 wafer cookies on a baking sheet (the amount will depend upon the amount spread onto each cookie). With a flat knife, scoop and smoothly spread the custard mixture onto each cookie.
  • Sprinkle the top of each lightly with sugar, and using a kitchen blowtorch, approach the sugar with the torch at a low angle until the inner blue flame is 1/4-inch above the surface and move the flame in a continuous motion over the surface until the sugar has caramelized.
  • Wait several minutes to cool before serving on a decorative platter as a passed dessert.