ml 35% cream [or 18% but try not to go lower than that]
large egg yolks
vanilla bean, halved and scraped [or 1 tsp of high quality vanilla bean paste]
sugar (raw, if possible) for carmelizing the top
In This Recipe
Halve and scrape the seeds from the vanilla pods - rub the seeds together with the sugar until the seeds are evenly dispersed. Whisk the eggs in, and set aside.
Get your cream together in a heavy bottomed pot and set your stove top to medium-high heat. Throw in the scraped vanilla bean and stir with a spoon - or better yet - a rubber scraper. Get the cream nice and hot, just below simmering.
Pour 1/4 of the hot cream into the egg yolks and sugar and whisk until it's thick and homogenized. Slowly add the rest of the cream into the egg/sugar while stirring. Pour this all back into the pot and return to medium heat, but only for a minute - and don't stop stirring!
Have a strainer and large container waiting and strain the cream mixture into the container. Cool this in your fridge, or in an ice bath before using.
Once cool, preheat your oven to 300F. Fill a water kettle and boil a large amount of water. Get a large roasting pan, or deep baking dish and put the empty ramekins in. Pour, or ladle an even amount of brûlée mix into each ramekin. [For 6, add about 4oz of brûlée mix and top up as needed] Once the ramekins are full, carefully pour the kettle of boiling water into the roasting pan until it is half way up the ramekins. Very carefully place the pan and brûlée's into the preheated oven without getting any water into the ramekins. Wrap the pan with tinfoil and bake until firm with a slight wobble. [about 30 minutes, check them after 20 and adjust your time from there.]
Once set, refrigerate them– uncovered – until cool. [If you'’re serving them on another day, saran wrap them individually once they're cooled.] When ready to serve, sprinkle the top with sugar (raw if you have it) and make sure there is an even coat over the whole surface of the creme brûlée. If they're completely cool and set properly, you will be able to hold them at different angles so the sugar can slide around and sand the surface evenly.
Turn your torch on and evenly caramelize the sugar without burning it. I highly recommend using a torch.
If you do not have a torch, don't fret. Alton Brown recommends that you place the crème brûlée in a cold oven and turn on the broiler. Babysit them or they'll over cook.