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For years I was put off creme brulee, for reasons that I have long forgotten. But after years of pressure from my family I was eventually persuaded to try it. Perhaps we were in a restaurant where everything else was 'off the menu'.

To cut a short story even shorter, it was great and I have enjoyed it many times since. It still took a while before I was brave enough to make it myself, having seen it made on television using something like an flamethrower for the finishing touches.

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 300ml whipping / double cream
  • vanilla pod
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • demarara sugar

Method

  1. Heat the cream gently in a saucepan with the vanilla pod
  2. Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together, then slowly pour in the warm cream, stirring continuously
  3. Remove the vanilla pod and divide the mixture between the ramekins (little creme brulee dishes)
  4. Put the ramekins in a roasting tin, and pour water into the tin until it is 2/3 of the way up the edges of the ramekins. Make sure water does not splash into the ramekins.
  5. Put in a preheated oven (160-170 degrees C) for 30 minutes
  6. Allow to cool (you can put them in a refrigerator to speed this up). They should be completely cold before the final stage.
  7. Sprinkle a thick layer (3mm) of demarara sugar on top of each one. Put them under a high grill, close to the heat, until the sugar has melted together. Watch attentively! If the sugar is melting unevenly turn them around. Should take less than 5 minutes.
  8. Or use a propane blowtorch if you have one to hand.
  9. The creme brulee should now have a 'crunchy' top. Eat within 30 minutes or the crust will start to go soft.
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