With the tap of a spoon, the caramelized top shatters like glass and gives way to the cold, creamy custard hiding underneath...
It's like the scene in Little Women when that annoying girl falls into the frozen lake as the ice cracks beneath her skates... Yep, it's EXACTLY like that-- except this is more soul-satisfying, and no one gets hurt.
..And there's no lake or ice, or... Ok, that was a horrible metaphor.
This dessert is stick-to-your-ribs phenomenal, and couldn't be any simpler. The version below doesn't even require you to whisk the custard on the stove. To top things off (literally), you get to play with fire-- and only good things can come out of that. Add some fresh strawberries or any other fruit on top, and you have a lovely foil to the rich custard.
Technique based on Debbie Puente's Elegantly Easy Creme Brulee
Makes approx. 4 servings
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
- 1 cup heavy cream
- hot water (for water bath)
- 4 ramekins, custard cups, or disposable aluminum muffin tins (can be cut to separate cups)
- extra sugar for caramelizing tops
- blowtorch (the fancy cooking kind, or a regular one from the hardware store)
Prior to serving, pour sugar on top of custard and shake to coat. Pour out excess and torch tops until bubbly and caramelized. Let cool so sugar can harden.
Random food fact: The Catalan version of crème brûlée is called crema catalana, and it is typically flavored with orange/lemon zest and cinnamon.