Recipe type: Dessert
- ½ vanilla bean
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1½ cups half-and-half
- 8 large egg yolks
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ to ½ cup packed brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Cut vanilla bean pod lengthwise in half and scrape out seeds. In 3-quart saucepan, heat cream, half-and-half, and vanilla bean pod and seeds over medium heat, until tiny bubble form around the edge of pan. Remove saucepan from heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes to allow the vanilla bean to infuse into the cream. Later, take out vanilla bean pod.
- While its cooling, in a large bowl, whisk egg yolks with granulated sugar until blended. Slowly stir in warm cream mixture until well combined. Pour mixture into 4-to 5-ounces broiler-safe ramekins or custard cups.
- Place ramekins in a large roasting pan; and place in preheated oven. Carefully pour boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake 35- 40 minutes, or just until set (mixture will still be slightly soft in the center). Remove ramekins from roasting pan; cool to room temperature on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, remove the custards from fridge. Sprinkle each custard evenly with Demerara (works the best) or granulated sugar. Rotate the custard as you sprinkle to make sure the sugar evenly coats the surface. Shake the ramekins back and forth to distribute the sugar evenly.
- Brûlée the crème brûlées with the broiler.
- Place ramekins in jelly-role pan for easier handling. With broiler rack at closet position to heat source, broil custard 3 to 4 minutes, just until sugar melts. (The melted brown sugar will form a shiny, crisp crust.)
- Brûlée the crème brûlées with the torch.
- Ignite your torch. Hold the flame about 4 inches from the surface of the sugar. Using a circular motion, move the flame across the surface. The sugar will at first begin to bead up, and then will eventually solidify into a hard sugar crust. You want to make sure all the sugar have melted, and the sugar has at least a tint of caramel color. The longer you torch the surface, the darker it will become and the more bitter the sugar crust will be (your preference here).
- Makes 10 servings.