I think everybody should have a go-to recipe for a “fancy dessert” when you have company. And when I say fancy, I mean people think it’s real fancy, but it’s actually surprisingly easy. For me, my go-to recipe is always crème brûlée. It uses common ingredients you probably already have on hand. It comes together fairly quickly, and it’s just so much fun using a blowtorch to create that crackable top.
For this recipe, I used 4 shallow ramekins that hold about 1/2 cup each (measured to the brim). You can use taller ramekins if you like, but just know that the bake time will likely be longer. Personally, I really like shallow ramekins so the ratio between the custard and the crunchy sugar topping is quite nice.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tb granulated sugar (for brûlée-ing)
- Place 4 shallow ramekins in a 9×13 cake pan. Preheat oven to 325°F.
- In a heatproof bowl, whisk together egg yolks and granulated sugar. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream until it reaches a low simmer. Remove from heat. Temper eggs by pouring about 1/4 cup of the hot heavy cream into the egg yolks (gently whisk as you pour in the heavy cream). Once it’s well incorporated, transfer this mixture back to the saucepan. Stir in vanilla extract. Pour mixture evenly in ramekins
- Boil a pot of hot water. Carefully pour hot water in the cake pan, until it reaches around 1/2 of the height of your ramekin.
- Bake in preheated oven for approximately 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a knife in the middle. It should come out mostly clean. When you gently move the cake pan side-to-side, the custard should be just set but the center will have a slight jiggle. Remove from oven and using tongs, remove each ramekin from the water bath and onto a cooling rack. When it has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for 4-6 hours, until chilled and set.
- Take crème brûlées out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle 1/2 Tb sugar on each. Using a kitchen blowtorch, caramelize the crème brûlée until nicely browned. Alternatively, caramelize the tops in a broiler for about 1-2 minutes.
- Make sure when you are making the mixture, you are whisking and stirring very gently. You don’t want to incorporate too many bubbles into your custard mixture, or else the custard won’t have its smooth texture.