The accent marks in the name alone can be intimidating to the non-classically trained home cook, but a quick look at the recipe reveals it’s nothing more than some homey staples – vanilla, sugar, eggs, cream and salt – allied with a little know-how.
Grab a torch (or befriend your oven’s broiler), don your “other” red, white and blue, and follow the lead of Chef Rogers Powell of the
- 500 milliliters (2 cups) heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- Pinch of salt
- 50 grams (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- Granulated, brown, or turbinado sugar, for finishing
- Bring the cream, vanilla bean, salt, and half the sugar to a boil.
- Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until pale and thick.
- Temper the egg mixture with some of the hot cream mixture. Return the tempered mixture to the remaining hot cream and combine thoroughly.
- Strain the mixture through a chinois into a bowl. Skim the foam from the surface.
- Place four 1/2- to 3/4-inch, fluted, shallow, crème brûlée molds in a hotel pan.
- Dividing the custard equally among the molds, carefully fill each mold with the custard to just under the rim.
- Fill the hotel pan with enough water to reach halfway up the sides of the molds and cover it with a sheet pan or foil.
- Bake the crèmes at 300°F (149°C) for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, or until they are softly set and the centers jiggle slightly.
- Using a metal spatula, remove the custards from the water and transfer to a sheet pan. When the baked custards have cooled to room temperature, chill them in the refrigerator until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day in advance. The custards will firm as they cool.
- Spread a thin layer of dried brown sugar, granulated sugar, or turbinado sugar over the top of each chilled custard. Caramelize (brûlez) the sugar under a salamander or broiler, or using a propane torch for a few seconds until the sugar melts and forms a glassy crust.
- Serve immediately.