Crème Brulée for Two
The proportions in this recipe are for two servings, but the recipe is easily doubled if you’d like to serve four.
For the custard:
- 237 ml (1 cup) heavy cream
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar*
- 1.3 ml (1/4 teaspoon) table salt
- 3 large egg yolks**
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract (vanilla bean works if you have one!)
For the top:
- 7.5-15 ml (1/2 - 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar, as needed
- Optional: Mint, fruits and berries, for garnish
*For the caramelized sugar crust, I have seen turbinado or Demerara sugar recommended, but I used granulated sugar and it worked beautifully.
**Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks after the cream has finished steeping; if left to sit, the surface of the yolks will dry and form a film.
- For the custard: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 149°C (300°F).
2. Combine half (118 ml or 1/2 cup) of the cream, sugar, and salt in small saucepan; bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. While the cream mixture is simmering, place a kitchen towel in the bottom of a baking dish and arrange two 118-148 ml (4- to 5-ounce) ramekins or shallow fluted dishes on a towel, making sure they are level and not tilted. Bring a kettle or saucepan of water to boil over high heat for the water bath.
4. After the sugar has melted and the cream has slightly cooled, stir in remaining 118 ml (1/2 cup) cream to cool down mixture further. Whisk yolks in a medium bowl until broken up and combined. Whisk in vanilla extract and about 7 ml (1/4 cup) cream mixture into yolks until loosened and combined; repeat with another 7 ml (1/4 cup) cream. Add remaining cream and whisk until evenly colored and thoroughly combined. If you have lumps in your custard, strain mixture into a new bowl. Pour the mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly.
5. Carefully place the baking dish with ramekins on oven rack; pour the boiling water into the dish, do not to splash water into ramekins, until the water reaches half to two-thirds height of ramekins. Bake until the centers of custards are just barely set and are no longer liquidy and a digital instant-read thermometer inserted in centers registers 76-79°C (170 to 175°F), 20-30 minutes. Begin checking the temperature about 15 minutes in.
6. Transfer the ramekins to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. (Pro Tip: Wrap rubber bans around your tongs to remove the ramekins without slipping). Set ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.
7. Uncover ramekins; if condensation has collected on custards, place a paper towel on the surface to soak up moisture. Sprinkle each with about 10 ml (2 teaspoons) granulated sugar; tilt and tap ramekin for even coverage**. Next, use a torch to caramelize the sugar. If you don’t have a torch, you can broil in the oven for a few minutes or use a very HOT spoon to caramelize the sugar. Refrigerate ramekins, uncovered, to re-chill, 30 to 45 minutes (but no longer); serve.
***The amount of sugar needed for the topping will vary on the shape of the ramekin. Sprinkle about 10 ml (2 teaspoons) over the top and gently tilt the ramekin. The sugar need will stick to the top, you can pour off excess sugar.