Crème brûlées

A crackling top, a silky custard middle. You can't go wrong with this French classic.
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The pleasures of cracking the top of a crème brûlée are well documented (with thanks to Amélie). There’s lots to be said about that silky vanilla-custard middle too. When it comes to this French classic dessert, you really can’t go wrong.



1.Preheat the oven to 120C. Combine the cream, caster sugar and vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to just below a simmer, stirring at first to ensure the sugar dissolves. Cool slightly (10 minutes).
2.Remove vanilla bean and slowly pour the cooled cream mixture over the egg yolks, whisking to combine; try to avoid overwhisking and creating lots of air bubbles.
3.Place 6 ramekins (15cm-diameter and 3cm-deep) in an oven pan lined with a tea towel, half-fill the ramekins with the cream mixture and place the pan on an oven shelf. Finish filling the ramekins to a few millimetres from the tops, then pour hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until set with a slight wobble in the centre (35-40 minutes).
4.Remove the brûlées from the pan and let them cool at room temperature for a couple of hours.
5.Evenly coat the top of the brûlées with the sugar mixture and caramelise lightly and evenly with a blowtorch until golden brown. Serve with crisp puff pastry or your choice of biscuits.

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