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How To Make Creme Brulee

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Creme Brulee is a French classic. Yet it is anything but complex, containing little more than fresh cream, eggs, vanilla and sugar.
What you'll need: 
570ml/1pint fresh double cream
Fresh whole vanilla pod
120g caster sugar
6 large egg yolks
4-6 ramekins
Cook's blowtorch
Small thick-bottomed saucepan
Paring knife
Large clean bowl
Preheat your oven to gas mark 2/150C°/300°F. Pour the double cream into the saucepan and place it on your oven's hob on a medium heat.
Using the paring knife, split the fresh vanilla pod down the middle and scrape the seeds into the pan. Bruise the pod with the side of the knife before cutting it into small pieces and adding it to the cream.
Steadily bring the cream to a boil before removing it from the heat and setting aside. Place the eggs and 100g of caster sugar in a large, clean bowl and beat until pale and aerated.
Return the cream to the hob and bring it back to a boil. Gradually add the cream to the egg mixture and whisk until the mixture begins to thicken.
Strain the liquid into a large jug to remove the pieces of vanilla. Pour the cream mixture into 4-6 portion-sized ramekins.
Place the ramekins in a baking tray before adding enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place the baking tray in the oven.
Bake for 40-45 minutes. By this point the mixture should have set but the middle should still be slightly wobbly. Remove from the oven and place the ramekins on a cooling tray at room temperature.
Once the ramekins have cooled, cover them and place in the fridge until needed.
When serving, pour enough caster sugar over the surface of each ramekin to coat the custard. Using a cook's blowtorch and moving the flame evenly across the surface, caramelise the sugar and allow it to harden before dusting with icing sugar and serving.
Though it requires a little time, Creme Brulee is an intensely rich, satisfying dessert which is perfectly matched with coffee and tart fruits such as fresh berries.
If you don't have a cook's blowtorch, place the individual ramekins directly under the grill until the sugar melts.
Berries are a perfect compliment for Creme Brulee as they contrast the richness of the cream.
Be careful when removing the ramekins from the water-filled baking tray.


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