This is another favourite of mine from my childhood. It is important to make the cream mix at least 4-5 hours before serving – even better to do it the day before, so that it has time to set. I also prefer to use a vanilla pod rather than vanilla extract and then serve with the pod for presentation.
- 4 large organic egg yolks
- 50g caster sugar
- 300ml double cream
- 100ml milk
- 1 vanilla pod or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 teaspoons demerara sugar
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, optional
- In a small bowl or jug, mix the egg yolks with the caster sugar, using a whisk.
- Pour the cream and milk into a saucepan with the vanilla pods or extract. To use the vanilla pod, firstly split the pod lengthways, using a paring knife. Then scrape the seeds free from both sides of the pod with the edge of the knife and add to the cream and milk. Use the pod as well for the infusion.
- Place on a medium heat until it starts to form a skin. Do not allow it to boil. Remove from heat and slowly pour over the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
- Return the mix to the saucepan and heat gently at a medium to low temperature, stirring constantly until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This should be a creamy texture. Do not allow to boil.
- Remove from the heat and pour through a fine strainer into a jug. This will remove the vanilla pod and any lumps. If the custard becomes lumpy or if it curdles when cooking, remove from the heat immediately and pour into a glass bowl and place directly into another bowl of ice cold water, whilst whisking the custard. This should remove any lumps. Strain again.
- Pour into 5 large ramekins (100ml, 6.5cm width x 5.5cm depth) or martini glasses and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to serve, evenly sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of demerara sugar over each. If desired, mix the cinnamon with the sugar beforehand.
- With a blow torch on full heat, caramelise the sugar. Don’t hold it too close as the sugar will burn. Alternatively, place under a grill for up to 30 seconds.
- Once the caramel topping has cooled and set, serve immediately with fresh berries and a mint leaf.
Tip: For a chocolate crème brûlée, add four teaspoons of cocoa powder to the milk and cream when the mixture is infusing with the vanilla pod.
Recipe Credit: Andrew Rudd
Photography credit:Harry Weir,