This was the perfect dessert for our Easter dinner. Creme Brulee is one of my favorites. It's simple yet elegant.
1 extra large egg
4 extra large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 TBS for each serving
3 cups heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 TBS orange liqueur, optional (Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar together on low speed until just combined. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it's very hot to the touch but not boiled. With the mixer on low speed, very, very slowly add the hot cream to the eggs. Pour in a slow trickle. If you add the hot cream too quickly to the eggs you will have scrambled eggs. Add the vanilla and orange liqueur and pour into 6 or 8 ounce ramekins until almost full.
Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Carefully, remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm. (I refrigerated mine overnight).
To serve, sprinkle 1 TBS of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.
Serve with fresh berries if desired.
I filled five 8 oz ramekins. These were fairly large so I had to bake them a little longer than 40 minutes.
You may also add a split and seeded vanilla bean to the cream while it is scalding. You may also use almond extract instead of vanilla and the orange liqueur.
Caution: Baking using a waterbath may discolor your pan. It may leave circles where each ramekin was.
Source: Barefoot in Paris - Ina Garten