Creme brulee is a rich, creamy custard with a hard caramelized sugar topping. Classic creme brulee is generally flavored with vanilla, but the flavor possibilities are endless.
This delicious version is my take on a snickerdoodle creme brulee, with cinnamon in the cream and on the finished caramelized topping. It's a fabulous dessert to make for fall and winter holiday dinners and parties.
The caramelized sugar will turn to liquid in the refrigerator, so don't finish the topping until serving time.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling over the tops (preferably Saigon, or Vietnamese Cinnamon)
- 5 large egg yolks
- dash salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons superfine sugar, raw sugar, or granulated sugar
Combine the heavy cream, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the mixture just begins to simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 325 F.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the salt. Gradually whisk the cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Whisk in the vanilla extract and then divide the custard among the 6 ramekins.
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Carefully add the water to the outer pan holding the ramekins to a depth of about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake the creme brulee for 30 to 35 minutes, or until there is only slight jiggle in the centers of the custards.
Remove the ramekins to a rack to cool.
Discard the water in the outer pan and place the ramekins back in the pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 3 to 4 hours, or until they are completely chilled.
Just before serving time, put about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of raw sugar, superfine sugar, or granulated sugar on a serving of creme brulee. Gently move the ramekin on the countertop in a circular motion to distribute the sugar evenly.
Slowly move a blowtorch or small kitchen torch back and forth over the creme brulee, caramelizing a section at a time. Using a pot holder or oven mitt, — the ramekins will be hot — turn the ramekins and continue caramelizing the tops until all of the sugar is melted and the top is browned. Repeat with as many custards as you plan to serve. The caramelized sugar should harden within about 2 to 3 minutes.
Alternatively, the creme brulees may be browned under the broiler. Add the sugar to the tops and place them under a heated broiler just until the sugar has caramelized. Watch them carefully and rotate the pan with the creme brulees about halfway through.
Sprinkle the caramelized tops lightly with a pinch of cinnamon.
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