This has got to be the most popular dessert that I make. I first tried it at Jerome’s request a few years ago. In return, Jerome bought me a kitchen blowtorch to make it. It is amazing how four basic ingredients turns into this rich and creamy dish. If you don’t have a blowtorch, you can still get the brulee effect by using the grill in your oven.
I got this recipe from Masterchef Australia and I haven’t altered it (I have just replicated it in my own words here). I’ve toyed with the idea of adding some poached rhubarb at the bottom, or adding some lemon zest…but in this instance I have resisted my usual urge to adapt and change the recipe. It just doesn’t need it.
This recipe is best started the day before you need it, or at least several hours before to allow the custard sufficient time to cool and set in the fridge. Which makes it a perfect dinner party dish. All you need to do on the night just before you serve it is blowtorch the sugar to create the brulee, which is a great party trick.
For this recipe you will need four 200ml ramekins and a baking/roasting pan that is slightly higher than the ramekins.
- 600ml thickened cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 6 egg yolks
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- 120g Demerara sugar
- Preheat the oven to 120C. Line the base of the pan with a folded tea towel (make sure it is level and even). Fill you kettle with water and boil.
- Place the cream, vanilla bean and seeds into a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to scalding point (where rapid bubbles start to rise up the pan) and remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together until pale (about 2-3 minutes).
- Pour the cream mix over the egg mix, whisking constantly, until well combined. Strain the mixture (to remove the vanilla bean, and any lumps – just in case) into a jug and pour equal amounts into the ramekins.
- Place the ramekins gently into the pan (on top of the tea towel) and pour boiling water into the pan,to halfway up the ramekins. Be careful not to get any water in the custard mix.
- Cover the top of the pan loosely with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until just set. Remove from the water bath and set aside to cool, then cover and refrigerate until set or needed.
- Just before serving, remove from the fridge and sprinkle an even layer of demerara sugar over the top of each of the baked custards. Using a blowtorch, evenly torch the top until the sugar bubbles and caramelises. I like to do this twice (with less sugar the second time) to ensure the entire surface is coated with the brulee.
Note – this recipe can easily be halved or doubled to make less or more (I have successfully made this in batches of 2, 4 and 6 with the same results).