This has to be one of my favourite desserts ever, there’s something so satisfying about cracking the caramel disk on the top to discover the rich, silk-smooth vanilla cream underneath.
There is a lot of argument over where Crème Brûlée was first discovered with England, Spain & France all vying for the title! I myself being a Brit will claim that it was out discovery and the story goes a little something like this…
England's Part of Crème Brûlée History
Sometime during the 17th century, young college student offered the kitchen a culinary delight: a creamy unsweetened custard with a caramelized topping. However, the college student's creation was spurned by the cooking staff. . .until he became a fellow. It was after his fellowship that the cooking staff suddenly took great interest in his custard creation with the burnt topping. After replicating the recipe, the cooking staff dubbed it "Trinity Burnt Cream" and all the world emulates this delectable dish. Or so the tall tale goes.
(Taken from: http://gourmet.lovetoknow.com/Creme_Brulee_History)
You can also flavour your Brûlée with a variety of things, coffee, lemon, Irish Cream, lavender, chocolate, and coconut (I’ll be trying this one soon – I’m a nut for coconut!) or even put a layer of cooked fruit in the bottom first.
So, now that your mouth is watering, here is the ‘How To’
5 egg yolks
50g Caster Sugar
1 vanilla pod, split and seed scraped out
500ml cold whipping cream
Demerara Sugar for the crunchy topping.
· Place the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar and mix together until well combined.
· Place the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil with the vanilla pod and the seeds.
· Pour the milk into the bowl with the egg mixture and mix well.
· Add the cold cream, mix and leave to infuse for 10mins.
· Preheat the oven to 150°c
· Remove the vanilla pod and divide the mixture between 6-8 ramekins (depending on their size!)
· Place the ramekins in a Bain Marie (filled with hot water, and put in the oven for 40-45mins until they are just set and still a little wobbly in the middle.
· Remove from the Bain Marie and leave to cool.
· Once cool, sprinkle the top of the Brûlée evenly with Demerara sugar and either heat under a hot grill or with a mini blowtorch until caramelised.
· You can actually make a caramel to top the brulee’s with, but this involves a lot of sugar heating and extremely high temperatures and is not for the faint hearted.