Classic Crème Brûlée

Classic Crème Brûlée

 

These crème brûlées are so creamy they make just the perfect dessert. Egg yolks, sugar and cream flavoured with vanilla make the creamy custard, and it’s topped with brittle caramel.

I have shared two methods for creating the caramelized topping, one using a chef’s blowtorch and the other using the grill/broiler.

 

Classic Crème Brûlée
Prepares: 6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25–40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Cooling time: 2 hours
  • Refrigeration time: 6 hours or overnight, plus 2 hours on day of serving


  • Ingredients
  • For the custard
  • butter, for greasing
  • 
4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 
40g (1½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 
½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) single/table cream (1¼ cups)
  • 
300ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)

  • For the topping

  • 4–6 tbsp golden caster/superfine sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
  • 100g (3½ oz) caster sugar/superfine sugar (½ cup), if not using a chef’s blowtorch

  • You will also need 6 x 150ml (5 fl oz) (⅔ cup) heatproof ramekins


  1. Method
  2. For the custard
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) gas 3.

  4. Lightly grease ramekins with butter and put to one side.

  5. Boil a kettle of water. Meanwhile, line a deep-sided ovenproof dish or small roasting tin/pan with a layer of kitchen paper and sit the six ramekins on the paper (the paper prevents the ramekins from slipping).

  6. Next pour both creams into a pan and heat until scalding. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.

  7. While the cream is cooling, put the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract into a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  8. Then gradually pour in the cream, while whisking at the same time, until the cream and egg mixture is blended together. Strain the custard into a jug and then divide amongst the six ramekins.

  9. Carefully pour enough of the boiling water into the ovenproof dish or roasting tin/pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

  10. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes as the custard still needs to have a slight wobble to it. Remove the dish from the oven and leave the ramekins in the water until the water has cooled.

  11. Now take the ramekin dishes out of the water, cover them and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

  12. For the topping, using a chef’s blowtorch
  13. Sprinkle 2–3 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the custard in each ramekin. The sugar needs to cover the custard completely.

  14. Now caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.

  15. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

  16. For the topping, without using a chef’s blowtorch
  17. First, have a piece of parchment paper ready on the counter top. Next, put the sugar in a stainless steel pan and add just enough water to dampen the sugar. Place over a low heat and stir the sugar until completely dissolved. Then increase the heat to medium–high. Without stirring, leave the sugar to bubble fiercely. When the bubbling lessens and the sugar has turned a pale straw colour it will be ready. Carefully, pour the caramel onto the paper (it will be extremely hot) and leave it to become cold.

  18. Now turn on the grill/broiler to high and leave for 5 minutes to become really hot.

  19. The caramel will have hardened on cooling. Break it into small pieces and blitz in a food processor or blender until there are really fine granules (finer than caster sugar). Sprinkle evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.

  20. Put the ramekins on a baking tray and place under the heat source, as close as possible. Cook for less than a minute, not letting the sugar burn. The heat just needs to melt the sugar.

  21. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Updated: October 13, 2019

Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Tasty Breadcrumbs

Baked fish and tomatoes with tasty breadcrumbs

 

A simple fish dish, cooked on a bed of rice with buttery garlic and onion sautéed breadcrumbs.

 

Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Tasty Breadcrumbs
Prepares: 4 servings (picture shows 2)
 
  • Preparation time: 35–45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes (oven)

  • Ingredients
  • ¾ cup rice
  • 4 x 140g (5 oz) white fish fillets, skinned (e.g. haddock)
  • fresh or dried thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) white wine (¼ cup)
  • 4 small tomatoes
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 55g (2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (about 2 slices of bread)
  • 7g (¼ oz) fresh parsley, finely chopped (should yield about ¼ cup)
  • ½ lemon

  • To serve
  • Seasonal vegetables

  • You will also need an ovenproof dish, greased. It should be large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) gas 4.

  3. Bring rice to the boil in 360ml (12 fl oz) (1½ cups) lightly salted water. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. For brown rice simmer for 15 minutes and for white rice simmer for 5 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, remove the skin from the tomatoes by putting them in a bowl, covering with boiling water and then leaving for one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and gently peel away the skin. (It should come away very easily.) Set aside.

  5. Once the rice has finished simmering for the appropriate time, spread the rice and the remaining water from the pan over the base of the ovenproof dish. (It will not be fully cooked at this point.)

  6. Lay the fish over the rice in a single layer. Then pour over the wine and lightly season with thyme and pepper.

  7. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.

  8. Next melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook over a low heat until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

  9. Mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley.

  10. Now scatter the crumb mixture over the tomatoes.
  11. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the topping is crisp and golden.

  12. Cut the lemon into four slices and use to garnish.

Updated: October 7, 2019