Creating this rich custard with a topping of crispy caramelized sugar is possibly the only reason the kitchen torch was invented. Luckily, there are many flavors to experiment with. This is the classic.
Step 1: Mix eggs and sugar Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and bring a kettle of water to boil. Add the egg yolks, the egg, and ½ cup of the sugar to the mixer and blend on low speed until the ingredients are just combined.
Step 2: Heat cream Gently heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat for 6 or 7 minutes, until bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan.
TIP: Make sure the cream is not boiling or the brulee will taste burned.
Step 3: Blend Slowly and gradually add the hot cream to the eggs and mix on low speed. Then add the vanilla and pour into six 8-ounce buttered ramekins.
TIP: Adding hot liquid to eggs a little at a time is called tempering and prevents the eggs from curdling or cooking.
Step 4: Prepare ramekins Place the ramekins in your baking or roasting pan and pour boiling water into the pan until it's halfway up the outsides of the ramekins. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the custard is just set. The custard will move slightly in the center when you gently shake the ramekins.
Step 5: Cool Carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath, allow them to cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Step 6: Serve Sprinkle 1½ to 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar evenly on top of each ramekin. Heat the sugar with the torch, keeping the flame 1 to 2 inches above the surface, until the sugar bubbles, turns amber, and becomes smooth. Wait 1 minute for the sugar to harden and then serve.
FACT: Creme brulee comes from the French, literally meaning "scorched cream."