This is of course a classic dessert and one that, for various reasons people shy away from. Custards curdle, are too runny or too rubbery, caramel is soft or at worst runs off the custard. This one is easy, great for entertaining because you can get ahead it needs to be made the day before serving and it looks amazing if presented properly.
Place the cream. milk and vanilla pod and seeds (or extract) in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil slowly. Place the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a medium bowl and stir thoroughly. Slowly pour the hot cream over the egg mix, stirring all the time then transfer the whole lot back into the pan and over a low heat. Stir continually until the custard thickens then divide between the ramekin dishes. Allow to cool then pop into the fridge and leave for at least six hours and preferably overnight.
To top off your brulee with a classic thin layer of caramel.
Method 1 – (if you do not have a cook’s blow torch) Place the caster sugar and water in a small pan. If you have the time, do this well in advance so that the sugar dissolves with the water prior to placing on the heat.
Place over a low heat then when the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is clear increase it. Don’t be tempted to stir or fiddle with it – any grease introduced will cause the sugar to crystallise and then you will have to start again.
Once the sugar is bubbling it will take maybe five minutes for the syrup to colour and once it does allow it to take on the colour of golden syrup then immediately take it off the heat, keep the syrup swirling around the pan and allow it to turn a shade darker. Pour about 1-2 tbsp over each chilled crème and quickly swirl it around to make sure it runs to the edges before it quickly sets. You need to work quickly so do just one at a time.
This caramel will stay crunchy for around two hours but then will start to suffer from the humidity and turn sticky even though it will still taste good !
Method 2 – If you have a cooks blowtorch and when ready to serve sprinkle 1 tsp demerera sugar over each creme and tilt from side to side to spread it out. Take a cooks blow torch and caramelise the top – the sugar will quickly dissolve and then turn a lovely golden brown. This method will only stay crunchy for about half an hour.
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