Vanilla Creme Brulee by Nielsen-Massey

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Traditional vanilla creme brulee, an indulgent dessert best served with a homemade shortbread biscuit.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C, gas mark 4).  Bring the cream and milk just to the boil in a saucepan with the vanilla bean paste.

  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl, then pour on the hot cream whilst continuously whisking.

  3. Strain the custard into the ramekins and place them all into a large deep-sided roasting tin.  Cover each loosely with foil, making a hole in the centre for steam to escape.  Make a bain-marie by pouring hot water from the kettle into the tin to halfway up the side of the ramekins.

  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the custards are just barely set in the centre (check after 25 minutes).  Remove the ramekins from the oven and dispose of the water.  Take off the foil and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

  5. Cover each one with cling film and chill in the fridge for 2 hours, or until needed.

  6. When ready to serve, cover each custard with a thin layer of golden caster sugar using the back of a large spoon.

  7. Sprinkle with a little water to just dampen the top and caramelise using a cook's blow torch (or for 4-5 minutes under a very hot grill until all the sugar has melted and turned a lovely golden colour).

  8. Serve when the brulee is firm, within an hour or two.

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