Crème Brûlée
(source: The Best Recipes in the World, Mark Bittman, Double B Publishing, 2005)

Prep Time:20 mins
Chill Time:20 mins


  1. Prehet the oven to 325 F375 F. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Combine the cream and vanilla bean (if using vanilla extract, add it after taking cream off heat) and cook over low heat just until hot to the touch (an instant-read thermometer will read 120 F).
  2. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until light. Stir about a quarter of the cream into this mixture, then pour the sugar-egg mixture into the cream and stir.
  3. Pour into four 6 oz ramekins and place the ramekins in a baking dish or roasting pan; fill the dish with boiling water halfway up the side of the dishes.
  4. Bake for about 30 min (start checking after 20), or until the center is barely set. Cool or wrap tightly and chill for up to a couple of days.
  1. When you're ready to serve, set up a broiler so that the tops of the ramekins will be no more than 3 inches from the heat source; 2 inches is better. (If your broiler is in your oven, it may be helpful to rest a broiling pan or even a casserole upside down on the rack to achieve the proper height.) Do not preheat the broiler. Cover the top of each custarf with a thin layer of sugar—about a teaspon each is right. Turn on the broiler and put the ramekins under the heat; arrange them so that the heat hits the tops of all of them eavenly. (If necessary, brown in batches; it takes only a couple of minutes anyway.) Cook until the sugar melts and blackens a bit, about 5 min, then remove. Serve within an hour.
  2. Or just use a propane torch; it's quicker.
Servings: 4 ramekins