Okay, I don't wanna brag but I am THE connoisseur of creme brulee. I've tried everything from the traditional vanilla bean to lavender and kona coffee and they have all been good - but not as good as this one! In fact, this recipe kinda ruins it for me because ever since I made this, petty restaurant attempts have quivered and died in it's glorious shadow. The secret is in the vanilla sugar, it is pretty common to find vanilla beans in your creme brulee BUT the vanilla sugar adds even more flavorful depth. What it this fancy-pants vanilla sugar you ask?! Well, you simply scrape the innards of a vanilla bean (I get mine from World Market, they have the cheapest ones at 2 for $4) into a canister of sugar (2 cups sugar to each bean) seal, and viola! Now not only have you flavored the creme, you also have what is soon to be delicious burnt, vanilla sugary goodness! Don't you just LOVE that burnt sugar smell?? When the torch flame ever so slightly turns that sugar into that beautiful hard shell? Okay, okay, I know, I'm getting a tad creepy now right? I'll just leave you guys to this then...
Best Ever Creme Brulee
1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water
1.Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2.Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.
3.In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
4.Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Original recipe from Alton Brown