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Crème Brûlée for Your Sweetheart

I found these adorable heart shaped ramekins at the store, and couldn’t wait to use them for Valentine’s Day. What could be more romantic than crème brûlée?

Crème brûlée is one of things that sounds so elegant, and so refined, that a lot of people won’t try making it because they think it’s too hard. But really, it isn’t that difficult to make.

All you need is the right tools and the right simple ingredients, and then it’s a cinch.

This recipe will tell you how to make a vanilla crème brûlée, but you could also flavor yours with orange zest, lemon zest, cinnamon sticks, or whatever you can think of.

Crème Brûlée

2 cups cream
1 vanilla bean, split, with seeds scraped
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for the tops

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil while you prepare the crème brûlée. Then line a roasting pan that will fit all your ramekins easily with a clean kitchen towel. Place the ramekins on top.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine cream and vanilla bean with seeds. Set over medium heat until just boiling. Take off heat, cover, and let the flavors steep for about 5 minutes. Whisk together the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until pale and smooth. While whisking, pour a small amount of hot cream into the egg yolk mixture. Keep adding more cream—while whisking—until all of the mixtures are incorporated. Set a strainer over a bowl with a spout, and pour mixture through the strainer.

3. Place the roasting pan with the ramekins on a rack in the middle of the oven, and pour the kettle water into the pan so that the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Pour the cream mixture into the ramekins, and carefully close the oven door. Bake for 25-55 minutes (check often, as the different sizes of ramekins will affect the cooking time), or until the centers of the crèmes brûlées jiggle slightly. Remove from oven. Cool completely, then refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.

3. Pour about 1-2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top of each crème brûlée and use a propane torch or a kitchen torch to heat the sugar until golden brown to mahogany, and bubbling. Refrigerate again until the top of the cream cools down again, and serve (Or you can serve immediately. Some people like the sugar to still be hot. It’s more important to me to have the cream cold, but—to each his own).

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