My favorite dessert of all time is Creme Brulee. I’m a critic of the dessert and try it everywhere I dine across the world. Crème brûlée is a classic French dessert, very famous also in Italy, made with the classic cream baked in the oven, to be served with good dessert wine. The first time that the recipe of crème brûlée it has been found in a French book dated 1691. The dessert is popular today in many Italian, French, or American Restaurants.
Since the ingredients need for a brulee are few and simpe, it makes sense to choose the best quality. Traditionally made with heavy cream to create a rich, creamy custard, bruleees can also be made with a combination of creams such as clotted cream or creme fraiche, or even the Italian cream cheese mascarpone. There are many versions of the dessert, but I stick to the classic version, served simply with berries, mint leaves and a dusting of powdered sugar.
3 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw
6 (5-ounce) flameproof ramekins; a small blowtorch
Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 325°F.
Pour cream into a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Using tip of a knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean, if using, into cream and add pod (if using vanilla extract, do not add it yet). Heat cream over moderate heat until hot but not boiling; remove from heat and discard pod.
Whisk together yolks, granulated sugar, and salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking constantly until combined. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and whisk in vanilla extract, if using. Ladle custard into ramekins.
Arrange ramekins in a roasting pan and add enough boiling water to pan to reach halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake until custards are just set, 25 to 30 minutes. With tongs, transfer custards to a rack to cool, then refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 4 hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over custards. Move blowtorch flame evenly back and forth close to sugar until sugar is caramelized. Let stand until sugar is hardened, 3 to 5 minutes.
Coffee Crème Brûlée: Stir 1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder into the hot cream and proceed as directed.
The custards can be refrigerated for up to 2 days (cover after the first 4 hours). Pat the tops gently with paper towels before sprinkling with turbinado sugar and caramelizing.