This was one of the first “fancy” recipes I mastered post-college, taken from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook. I’ve made this so many times I’ve memorized the recipe but it never gets old! I love switching up the favor with different extracts (Rose! Lavender!) though the classic preparation with Grand Marnier is delicious on it’s own. I keep 20 mini ramekins (about 2″ in diameter) on hand for parties and guests are often eager to help wield the chef’s torch when it comes to caramelizing the top.
Easy Crème Brûlée
2 extra-large eggs
8 extra-large egg yolks
1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for topping
6 cups heavy cream
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp orange liqueur (I recommend Grand Marnier)
1 bunch mint
1 carton raspberries
You’ll also need: an electric mixer, 20 mini ramekins, a small sieve, and a jelly roll pan.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
Put a kettle of water on the stove to boil.
Combine the eggs, egg yolks, and 1 cup of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on low speed. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a saucepan over med-high heat. I usually let it get to boiling for a quick second then skim off any skin that forms. With the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture. Going slowly is important so you don’t cook the eggs and end up with a scramble! Add the vanilla extract and orange liqueur. Pour into 20 small ramekins through a sieve to eliminate bubbles in the custard. Use a spoon to skim off any remaining bubbles.
Place a tea towel in the bottom of the jelly roll pan and arrange ramekins to fit. Pour boiling water from your kettle into the jelly roll pan so the ramekins are all sitting in a nice hot bath, and the water comes halfway up the side of the ramekin. This will help your custard cook evenly. Make sure the entire tea towel is submerged in the pan. You don’t want the corners to catch fire if they’re dry!
Bake the custards approximately 40 minutes, until they look set when jostled gently. Remove them from their bath and cool on a wire rack. Chill in the fridge until fully set, and remove them 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle each with a thin and even layer of granulated sugar, and toast with the flame of your chef’s torch until the sugar caramelizes. Garnish with a mint leaf or two and a raspberry.
Serve and bask in the appreciative glow of your guests! xx SF