The Simple Truth Behind Crème Brûlée
SO EASY YOU WON'T BELIEVE IT!
My favorite crème brûlée is a very plain one, with just half a teaspoon of vanilla extract added. After that, it’s crème brûlée scented with orange, like this one right here. Like an English pudding, crème brûlée somehow manages to pull off a sense of grandeur while still being an incredibly simple thing to prepare. Among its many virtues, it’ll keep for several days in the fridge, making it an ideal dessert to serve at a dinner party. You simply pop them out of the fridge, caramelize the tops and you’re good to go.
Start by preheating your oven to 325 and setting a pan of water on the stove to simmer. Next, infuse your cream. Put half a pint of cream in a small saucepan along with the rind of half an orange and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract (this recipe can be doubled if you like). Bring the mixture to a simmer and set it aside.
8.) Bake about half an hour, until the custard is set (when you move the ramekin it should jiggle, not slosh). Let the custards cool, then put them in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours, ideally overnight.
9.) When you’re ready to serve them, spinkle about a tablespoon of granulated sugar onto the top of each custard. Oops…I sort of overdid it here. Oh well, no biggie. Raw sugar or brown sugar are also delicious.
10.) Now, apply the heat. As luck would have it, I ran out of propane about half a second after this picture was snapped. Not having a salamander handy, I went with the other, other option: the broiler. It works just fine, though you want to take care to get the sugared custard as close to the heat source as you reasonably can. You want a lot of heat delivered quickly, so as to caramelize the sugar without cooking — and breaking — the custard. More time in the broiler means a greater chance of curdling — so blast the suckers and get’em out of there.