Crème Brȗlée


Note: this requires cooling in a fridge for several hours, preferably overnight; also requires a blow torch and ramekins.

Note: this started out as cherry/chocolate crème brȗlée, then we dropped the chocolate (no particular reason, just preferred our brȗlée more brȗléey) and you could leave out the cherries.

Serves 6 (one ramekin per person).



  1. Pre-heat the oven to 140 C.
  2. Place a single layer of kitchen paper into the base of a shallow oven-proof container [or containers] big enough to hold the ramekins.
  3. Fill the container(s) 1 cm deep with water.
  4. Put these containers in the oven to warm up.
  5. If you are adding the chocolate, put the pieces into a bowl.
  6. Put the cream, half of the "mixture" sugar and the vanilla pod into a saucepan.
  7. Heat the saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, the cream steams and until YOU SEE THE FIRST BUBBLE.
  8. IMMEDIATELY pour the hot mixture into another bowl, if you are adding the chocolate then the bowl is the one with the chocolate in; remove the vanilla pod as you do so and leave this (so that any chocolate melts, and to cool somewhat).
  9. Beat the egg yolks in another bowl for 30 to 40 seconds with the remainder of the "mixture" sugar.
  10. Make sure that the chocolate/cream is well mixed and then slowly pour it into the bowl containing the egg yolks, beating frequently as you do so to prevent the egg scrambling.
  11. Strain this mixture through a tea strainer into a pouring jug, just in case any scrambling did occur, and to make it easier to complete the next steps.
  12. If you are using the cherries, loosely fill the base of each ramekin with cherries.
  13. Pour the chocolate mixture into the ramekins.
  14. Boil a kettle-full of water.
  15. Slide the oven shelf that the container(s) is/are on partly out of the oven in order to place the ramekins into the containers safely; top the containers up with the boiling water such that the water is half-way up the ramekins.
  16. Return the containers with the ramekins to the oven for between 35 and 45 minutes: you want the outer edge of the mixture in the ramekins to be cooked, i.e. to stay still when the ramekin is shaken from side-to-side, and the centre of the mixture to wobble very slightly when the ramekin is shaken from side to side; it should not look as though it is still liquid underneath the surface.
  17. Allow the ramekins to cool and then store in the fridge for a few hours or, preferably, overnight.
  18. Before serving divide the "top" sugar between the ramekins, sprinkling it evenly, and apply heat from a blow torch [don't be timid, or you'll end up with beads of caramel over untouched sugar] to caramelise the sugar until it is golden and glass-like.

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