Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

So, as I posted a while back (see here for that blog), I am in love with creme brulee. Of course, I would have to be - it's probably the most calorie laden things on the planet.
My friend, Drew, got me addicted. Thanks Drew.
No, really.
I mean that.
Anyway, I finally got his recipe from him this weekend and decided to give it a try. In my head I had it worked out that it was going to be much more difficult to make. Nope, turns out it's pretty easy. Of course it is. If it were hard to make I wouldn't make it that often and, in turn, wouldn't eat it that often.
 Nope, it's pretty easy.
Thanks again Drew.

In true Jo and Sue fashion though I did make a few changes to his recipe. I know, I know, why mess with perfection? Well, two reasons. (1.) I needed to make more than the recipe called for but didn't need to double it. I kind of 1 1/2'd it. (2.) My niece bought me Vanilla Beans as a gift and I have been dying to try them in something.
Here is our altered version:

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

4 cups whipping cream (heavy cream)
1 vanilla bean, split
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease 6 - 8 ramekins (4 or 6 oz).
Pour the cream into a saucepan and add vanilla bean. Over medium heat, slowly bring to almost boiling (the first sign of bubbles breaking the surface). Remove from heat, cover pan, and let sit for 15 minutes to let flavors infuse.
In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar. Whip until color changes to light yellow.
Remove bean from cream. Scrape seeds out. Place seeds in yolk mixture. Set bean pod aside.
Slowly incorporate cream mixture into yolks, whisking constantly as you go. (You need to do this slowly or the eggs will curdle.)
Fill ramekins 3/4 full with mixture.

Prepare a bain marie (fancy schmancy term for water bath) by adding about 8 cups of hot water to a roasting pan. Immerse ramekins so that the water level is halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Be careful to avoid getting any water into your creme brulee.

Bake at 325 from 45 - 60 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Chill for at least 4 hours. (I made mine the afternoon before and they turned out great.)

Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sugar

Sue's hubby, Rob, torching the sugar

Just before serving - place about 1 Tbsp of sugar evenly on top of each custard. Using a torch, melt the sugar to form a sugar crust on top. (If you don't have a torch, place under broiler. Place about 1 - 2 inches under broiler for about 20 - 30 seconds)

It took a couple of tries to get the whole torching thing down pat. You can see we went a little crazy with the 2 on top.

So, a couple of things I learned from making my first creme brulee:

(1) It's easy to make. Maybe too easy....
(2) Don't panic when you take them out of the oven after 50 minutes and they are still quite jiggly. They set up in the fridge.
(3) If you are using a HUGE propane torch then let your sister's husband do the dirty work.
(4) You can save the vanilla bean pod, let it dry a bit, then place it in a container of sugar. Let it sit in the sugar a week or two and you will have Vanilla Sugar. Great to use in baking!

I have discovered online that there is a bazillion different creme brulees out there. Ginger infused, lavender infused (eeew....), etc, etc.... My favorite sounding one was a Bailey's Creme Brulee. I think I may have to try that....


  1. Hi Kerry :) Not to worry! I am attempting a creme brulee somethingorother for Carina's Bday on Wednesday.

  2. Oh my.. how I LOVE creme brulee. I like using demerara sugar on top - it gives a fabulous top crust once caramelised!

  3. That would be delicious! I've also heard that maple syrup works really well and is a little different. I can't wait to try all the varieties!