Crack open this creme brulee and you'll be treated to an unbeatably creamy interior… because true beauty is on the inside!
1 vanilla pod
250 ml thickened cream
75 ml full-fat milk
4 large egg yolks
3 tbsp caster sugar, plus 3-4 tbsp for topping
2 tsp vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 140C/120C fan. Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways, leaving it attached at one end, then scrape the blade of the knife along the cut sides to release the sticky seeds.
- Put the cream, milk, and vanilla pod and seeds into a pan and heat to boiling point. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 10 mins.
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 3 tbsp sugar until thickened and turned from a dark to a very pale yellow.
- Add the vanilla extract, then pour the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. After whisking in the cream, let the custard settle, then use a ladle to skim off any froth from the top and discard.
- Place 4 small ramekins in a shallow roasting tin. Tip the custard into a jug, then carefully pour into the ramekins. Put the tin on the lowest shelf of your oven, then pour boiling water from a kettle into the tin so it comes halfway up the ramekins – this is called a bain marie. Make sure no water splashes into the custard.
- Cook for about 35 mins or until just set. Leave to cool at room temperature until completely set, then chill.
- Sprinkle the cold brûlée with a thin layer of sugar. Tilt the ramekins and tap the sides so that you get an even layer of sugar over the custard.
- Hold a lit blowtorch 8-10cm away from the sugar and caramelise it evenly to a dark amber. Leave to cool and harden completely. Serve within 2 hrs.