The ultimate dessert: crème brûlée

crème brûlée

A good crème brûlée always looks and tastes delicious, so when I saw this recipe by Michel Roux Jr. in a recent GoodFood magazine, I knew it had to be a winner! I always find it a bit daunting to make, but the recipe contained a lot of pictures and seemed reasonably foolproof, and it was. It turned out to be the perfect ending to a lovely New Year’s eve dinner judging by my guests who kept trying to get every last bit scraped from the ramekin! Here’s how to make it:

Heat the oven to 120 C. Put 250 ml full-fat cream or double cream, 75 ml milk (the recipe says full-fat, but I only have semi-skimmed at home and that worked equally well) and the seeds and pod of 1 vanilla pod into a pan and heat to boiling point. Cover and leave to infuse for 10 mins.

Whisk 4 egg yolks (you can freeze the egg whites to make meringues later) and 3 tbsp sugar together until pale and thick. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and pour the boiling cream onto the mixture. Stir well, then pour into two ramekins. Place the ramekins in a deep ovenproof dish and fill the dish with water until it comes up to halfway the ramekins (au bain marie) and cook in the oven for about 20 mins or until just set. Don’t worry if it looks a bit bubbly or scrambled on the top at this point. Leave to cool.

Heat the grill. Sprinkle the cold brûlée with a thin, even layer of sugar, and caramelise under the very hot grill (or use a blowtorch). Repeat several times until you have a golden crackling topping. A blowtorch is a fantastic thing (and a great gift idea too), for dramatic effect, do this right before serving. You have the added bonus of a hot top layer on the cool pudding, a great combination! Enjoy while listening to Happy New Year by Abba (for that extra surreal touch).

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