-Need 6 (7-8 ounce) ramekins
6 large egg yolks *how to separate egg yolks at the end of recipe
1-quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extra or vanilla bean powder found at specialty grocery stores)
1 cup caster sugar (fine sugar), divided
½ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- In a medium pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil then turn down the heat to low until you need it for the water bath for cooking the crème brulee.
- Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use. (I like to put my old vanilla bean pods in 2 cups of white sugar in an airtight container- now you have vanilla sugar for next time you bake!)
- Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup caster sugar, salt, and the egg yolks until well blended and it the yolks are a pale yellow. Add ½ cup of the cream to the bowl with the egg yolks, stirring continually (this process will make sure the eggs don’t scramble). Add the remaining cream and stir until combined. Let the custard sit for 5 minutes then, using a small spoon, scoop the excess foam off the top of the custard. Place the ramekins in a large cake or roasting pan then gently pour the liquid into each of them equally. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the creme brulee is just set, but still trembling in the center – about 40 to 45 minutes. You are looking for the center part to jiggle when you check it. If it looks more like a lava lamp in the middle, you need to cook it a bit longer.
- Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup caster sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.
How to separate egg yolks:
There are many ways to do this, but the simple way is to crack the egg into your clean hand over a bowl in your kitchen sink. Slightly separate your fingers so that the egg-whites slip between the cracks in your fingers into the bowl. Gently place the egg yolk in a different bowl. Repeat until you have the amount that you need.