Torchless Crème Brûlée

Crème brûlée is a very fascinating dessert. I love the caramel crust and then the silky, smooth custard which is softer than the leche flan that I often times make. For a long time, I’ve had butane torch in my to-buy list of kitchen gadgets but since I’m not really sure when I will make crème brûlée, I haven’t really gotten around it. But yesterday, I suddenly got a craving for it and when I do crave for a certain food, it involves making it myself. I don’t have a torch though. But I’ve been making caramel tops on my other desserts using the broiler so I figured; I could do the same on my custard. I was so excited that I was in and out of my room while watching my homeboys play. I had to cook the custards first so they can chill in the fridge while I watch the ballgame. So I got 6 ramekins of creamy custard cooking in water bath. But it went down to 5 because I dropped one when while I was taking them out of the roasting pan. I thought I could handle the heat and held one with my bare hand. What a waste! Anyway, my Crème brûlée came out really good and who needs a torch to make it? Here’s how to do it:

Torchless Crème Brûlée

1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
¾ plus 1/4 cup sugar
6 extra large or jumbo egg yolks
2 quarts hot water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.
In a medium bowl, whisk together ¾ cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continuously. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still jiggling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
Remove the crème brûlée from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/4 cup sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top.
Preheat broiler and place custards on baking sheet. Broil until sugar melts and caramelizes, moving the baking sheet around for even browning. Serve immediately, or refrigerate custards until topping is cold and brittle, about 1 hour and up to 2 hours. Enjoy!


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