The taste of this creme is a little different than others, but if you take the time and follow the directions this is by far the best of the recipes that I have tried here. I took what I liked from all of the recipes I found and left out the unnecessary, difficult, and expensive steps. What I was left with was a delicious, simple, and elegant dessert.
VANILLA BEAN CREME BRULEE
Recipe type: dessert
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup granulated sugar
1 fresh, whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 large egg yolks (take care that no bits of whites are included)
Kettle of boiling water
12 tsp granulated sugar
fresh berries for serving
Preheat oven to 325F, with rack on lower middle position.
In medium saucepan, combine cream and sugar, mixing well. Use a small knife to scrape all seeds from vanilla bean, into the saucepan. Once all seeds have been added to saucepan, add the empty vanilla bean into saucepan.
Over medium heat, stir until sugar completely dissolves and the creamy mixture comes to a simmer. Cover pan and reduce heat to lowest setting. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover, and remove the empty bean and any other pieces of the bean. Set aside to let cool about 10 minutes.
In medium bowl, whisk yolks until well blended. Very carefully and in a very slow stream, whisk in the hot cream mixture into the yolks, just to combine.
Divide custard evenly among six individual ramekins (3/4 cup ramekins.) Place ramekins in a glass 9x13 baking dish. Pour enough of the boiling water into the pan to go halfway up the sides of ramekins. Place baking dish in oven and bake about 35 minutes. Custards should be almost set in the center when pan is gently shaken.
Remove ramekins from baking pan and let cool to room temp. Chill in fridge for up to 2 days; a minimum of 3 hours.
When ready to serve, sprinkle 2 tsp sugar evenly over each chilled custard. Work a blowtorch over one custard at a time. Move flame quickly back and forth over the sugar topping until it reaches desired caramel appearance. Repeat with other custards. Serve immediately with fresh berries.
Whole vanilla bean is highly recommended. However, 2 TB real vanilla extract may be used instead. If using extract, add it in at the end of the simmering stage. Extract flavor diminishes the longer it is cooked.