One of the simplest pleasures in life is breaking through the crackly crust of a crème brûlée and spooning out the creamy baked custard beneath. Luckily this simple pleasure is also extremely easy to make. Once you’ve mastered the basics, try dressing it up with fresh fruit, compote or a layer of nut butter beneath the custard. The recipe and pictures are by Littleloaf for WhyNut.
550ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped (optional, works best with the hazelnut version)
100g golden caster sugar + approx. 3 tbsp for the crust
6 large free range egg yolks
80g WhyNut pistachio or hazelnut paste
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celcius. Place six ramekins in a roasting dish.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the cream, vanilla pod and seeds (if using) to a simmer. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for a few minutes.
- Whisk together the caster sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the warm cream until combined. Whisk in the pistachio paste, adding a little more or less to taste.
- Strain the whole mixture into the prepared ramekins and pour in hand-hot water to come half way up the side of each ramekin. Bake for 30 minutes or until the custards are just set with a slight wobble. Remove from the oven, take the ramekins out of the roasting dish and leave to cool completely before refrigerating for at least six hours.
- When ready to serve, remove the custards from the fridge. Sprinkle a thin, even layer of sugar over each one making sure it reaches right up to the edges then use a cook’s blowtorch to caramelize the sugar, allowing the heat to create a bubbling golden layer. Return to the fridge to set for a few minutes before serving.
- Make sure you start this recipe in plenty of time before you want to eat. The trick to a perfect crunchy crust is a nicely cooled set custard, so give it about six hours in the fridge before serving if you can.
- The water surrounding your ramekins while they bake should be hand-hot, rather than boiling. Test the temperature with your finger – it should feel hot to the touch but not scalding.
- You can brûlée the custards underneath a hot grill but for the crunchiest of crusts, a blowtorch is pretty essential. You can buy mini blowtorches online fairly inexpensively and they’re also a lot of fun to use.
- Add a little excitement to this basic brûlée by adding a couple of tablespoons of fruit compote or nut butter in the bottom of each dish before topping with the custard and baking.
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