Crème brûlée for 2 is the perfect make-ahead dessert! You can bake the custard in advance and torch the top just before serving. The creamy custards are silky smooth, burst with vanilla flavor and are topped with sugar crusts that’ll break into dozens of delicious caramel shards.
- 300g heavy cream (1 ¼ cup)
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 4 egg yolks
- 65g light brown sugar (⅓ cup), plus 2 tbsp for the top
- pinch of salt
- Infuse the cream. Pour the cream into a small saucepan and stir in the vanilla seeds. Bring the cream to a simmer over medium-high heat, then take the saucepan off the heat. Cover and let the vanilla seeds infuse for 45 min. It’s also important for the cream to cool down, you don’t want the egg yolks to scramble when you’ll mix them together in the next step.
- Make the custard. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl for 3 min. Gradually whisk in the cream. Set a mesh strainer on top of a separate bowl and strain the vanilla mixture.
- Bake the crèmes brûlées. Preheat the oven to 100°C (210°F)*. Place 2 ramekins** on a baking sheet and fill the ramekins almost to the brim. Bake in the center of the oven for 55 min to 1h. Gently tap on the side of one of the ramekins with a wooden spoon. The edges of the crème brûlée should be set but its center should still be pretty wobbly. The tip of a knife inserted into the center should come out with small streaks of cream. Every oven is different so the crèmes brûlées might need to bake a bit longer. Check every 5 min or so past the 55 min mark (the tops shouldn’t brown). Don’t be tempted to increase the temperature or the eggs might curdle, which would ruin the consistency.
- Chill. Set the ramekins on a wire rack and wait for the ramekins to cool down to room temperature. As the crèmes brûlées cool, the center will sink slightly. Then place them in the fridge for 3h min before serving.
- Caramelize. Wait until you are about to serve the crèmes brûlées to caramelize them if you want the caramel layer to remain hard. Plus feeling the hot & cold difference is part of the charm of eating a crème brûlée. Sprinkle a thin layer of light brown sugar over the crèmes brûlées and slightly shake the ramekins to spread the sugar evenly. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar by moving the torch in a circular pattern. Wait for a few minutes before eating so that the caramel will have time to harden slightly and form a crust. I don’t recommend using an oven’s broiler to toast the sugar because it takes longer and might overbake the crèmes. It would be a pity not to have a silky smooth custard under the crust.
* 80°C (175°F) if you use a convection oven
**my ramekins are 11cm (4⅓ in) wide and 3cm (1 in) deep. If your ramekins are narrower and deeper your crèmes brûlées might need longer to bake.
- Serving Size: 1 crème brûlée
- Calories: 787
Keywords: vanilla custard, french dessert