Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes Serves: 4
Crème brûlée is a classic and indulgent way to end a meal. Surprisingly though, it often gets hidden in amongst others desserts, so you often end up ordering it when you can’t make your mind up.
An old English equivalent is Trinity burnt cream, which originated at Trinity College, Cambridge. It’s less sweet than the French counterpart with just the burnt sugar on top and no vanilla.
Make crème brûlée individually, or – the way I prefer it – as one large one. Then you’ll be left with the egg whites. If you’re clever you can use them in consommé as your starter. Otherwise freeze them for later.
400ml double or Jersey cream200ml single creamHalf a vanilla pod, split lengthways5 Burford Brown egg yolks1 tbsp caster sugar3-4 tbsp Demerara sugar to glaze
Put both the creams in a saucepan, scrape the seeds from the vanilla into it and add the pods. Gently bring to the boil, whisking every so often to really infuse the milk with the seeds. Remove from the heat and leave for about 10 minutes. Mix the egg yolks and caster sugar together then pour on the cream, removing the vanilla pods. Return the mix to a clean heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens – don’t let it boil.
While it cooks, give it an occasional whisk and return it to the heat. This should take about 7-8 minutes but it’s important to get in the corners of the pan and keep the custard moving.
Pour into a large round shallow dish or individual ramekins and leave to set overnight. Spread the Demerara sugar evenly over the surface of the set custard and spray lightly with water. Light a blow torch and work the flame evenly over the sugar until it caramelises. If you don’t have a blow torch or a brûlée iron put the crème under an extremely hot grill. Return to the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.