1/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split
4 (extra) tablespoons caster sugar
Place cream and vanilla bean in saucepan and bring to boil. Remove vanilla bean and allow to cool 15 minutes. Whisk egg yolks with sugar until well combined. Pour cream mixture into egg mixture and combine well. (Some recipes say to strain the mixture at this stage; I prefer not to as it's fun to see the tiny vanilla bean seeds in the finished dessert.) Pour into four ramekins, place them in a baking dish and add enough cold water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake at 160 degrees C for about one hour. Cool at room temperature. Refrigerate until cold. Sprinkle one tablespoon of caster sugar on to top of each custard and grill (or use blowtorch) to heat the sugar until it caramelises. Serve warm or cold.
I don't have a blowtorch – culinary or otherwise – but get
pretty good results by grilling the desserts for about five minutes
You can vary this recipe in many ways ... for example, by placing some fruit (passion fruit pulp, or mandarin segments, say) in the bottom of the ramekins before pouring the cream mixture in. Or you could leave the vanilla out, and add either a tablespoon of Japanese (matcha) green tea powder or a tablespoon of instant coffee to the warm cream to make green tea or coffee flavoured crème brûlée.