Vanilla crème brûlée is a classic French dessert made with a creamy custard base and a hard caramelized sugar top. It is a rich and indulgent dessert that is perfect for special occasions or as a special treat. Here is a simple recipe that you can try at home:
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for topping
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 325°F (162°C).
In a saucepan, bring the heavy cream and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes to infuse the flavor of the vanilla bean into the cream.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract until well combined.
Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup or a pitcher with a spout. This will help to remove any bits of cooked egg and ensure a smooth, velvety texture.
Divide the mixture evenly among six 4-ounce (120-milliliter) ramekins or custard cups.
Place the ramekins in a baking dish and fill the dish with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. This is called a water bath and helps to gently cook the custards and prevent them from cracking.
Carefully transfer the baking dish to the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the custards are just set (they should jiggle slightly in the center when gently shaken).
Remove the baking dish from the oven and carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath. Let the custards cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
When you're ready to serve the crème brûlée, sprinkle a thin layer of granulated sugar over the top of each custard. Using a kitchen blowtorch, melt the sugar until it is caramelized and forms a hard, crunchy top. If you don't have a blowtorch, you can also place the ramekins under the broiler for a minute or two, watching carefully to make sure the sugar doesn't burn.
Serve the crème brûlée immediately, garnished with fresh berries or a sprinkle of cocoa powder, if desired. Enjoy!