Is it possible to make crême brûlée that's as delicious as the ones you find in Paris? And easy to make, to boot? The only difficult thing about this crême brûlée recipe is imagining that only four simple ingredients — cream, eggs, honey and sugar — can create such a spectacular dessert. This recipe will transform your kitchen into a Parisian bistro. We know, that's a bold claim, but try it out and see if we're not right.
Our crême brûlée recipe comes by way of Provence, where Chef Jean-Marc Larue in Avignon taught us how to make this classic French dessert. It was his idea to infuse the cream with lavender for a distinctive Provençal taste. You can try that variation if you have lavender available, but the basic crême brûlée recipe is equally delicious.
Although you can experiment using half milk and half cream, the texture will not have the richness of a Paris bistro classic. Since this really is a special-occasion French dessert, we recommend using only real (heavy) cream — it's the only thing that will result in the authentic dessert.
Preheat oven to 275° F
In a small saucepan bring the cream to a boil, but don't let it boil over. Remove it from the heat, and stir in the honey until dissolved.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the yolks until they are combined. Continue to whisk while slowly adding a small amount of the warm cream. Add a little bit at a time so the yolks don't cook, until all the cream is mixed in.
Divide the liquid custard among 6-ounce ramekins. Place them in large, deep baking dish. Fill the baking dish with hot water to halfway up the sides of the ramekins and put the baking dish in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes and then check every 5 minutes. When fully baked the brûlée should be almost firm but will jiggle just slightly when shaken.
Remove the ramekins from the water bath, let them cool and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. They should look like the photo below.
To prepare for serving, sprinkle each dessert with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Next, brown (brûlée, or broil) the sugar using a kitchen torch. Sugar can burn quickly, so use the torch carefully until the top is a deep golden brown. The most complicated part of the creme brulee recipe is learning how to work with the kitchen torch.
"Lavender Variation" sounds like a work by Mozart, doesn't it? But, this is the version we learned from Chef Larue —
Follow the above instructions, up to bringing the cream to a boil. When you remove the cream from the heat, add the lavender and infuse for 1 hour at room temperature. Using a fine sieve or cheesecloth, strain the mixture and return it to the same saucepan. Heat to a simmer and then remove from the heat immediately. Continue as above.
Easy French Desserts
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