Crème brûlée

Serves 4-6
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Crème brûlée is such a simple, comforting and indulgent way to end a meal. In a restaurant it's something you order when you can't quite make up your mind what to have. An old English equivalent is Trinity burnt cream, which originated at Trinity College, Cambridge. It's less sweet than the French counterpart. Make crème brûlée individually, or - the way I prefer it - as one large one. Then you'll be left with the egg whites. If you're clever you can use them in consommé as your starter. Otherwise freeze them for later.

600ml double or Jersey cream
Half a vanilla pod, split lengthways
5 egg yolks
1tbsp caster sugar
3-4tbsp Demerara sugar to glaze

Put the cream in a saucepan, scrape the seeds from the vanilla into it and add the pods. Bring gently to the boil, whisking every so often to really infuse the milk with the seeds. Remove from the heat and leave for about 10 minutes. Mix the egg yolks and caster sugar together then pour on the cream, removing the vanilla pods. Return the mix to a clean heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens - don't let it boil.

While it cooks, give it an occasional whisk and return it to the heat. This should take about 7-8 minutes but it's important to get in the corners of the pan and keep the custard moving.

Pour into a large round shallow dish or individual ramekins and leave to set overnight. Spread the Demerara sugar evenly over the surface of the set custard and spray lightly with water. Light a blow torch and work the flame evenly over the sugar until it caramelises. If you don't have a blow torch or a brûlée iron put the crème under an extremely hot grill. Return to the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

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