I don't eat desserts very often, but when I do, I want it to be something special. I want to make it worth my while. Decadence comes to mind. Decadence in both taste and texture. A silky smooth custard against crackling "burnt" sugar. A rich, creamy, eggy creation with vanilla in the background. In other words, a creme brulee. Just because it has a French name does not mean it's hard to do. Au contraire! It's one of the simplest desserts to make. Very little effort for that "wow" factor.
Creme Brulee 6 egg yolks, room temperature 1 pint heavy cream 1/2 cup sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract seeds of one vanilla bean Beat room-temperature yolks until lighter colored. Set aside. Combine cream, sugar, and vanillas in heavy pan and bring to boil. Gently and slowly, pour cream mixture into yolks, whisking constantly, to temper the yolks. You do NOT want curdled or scrambled eggs. You want smooth. Pour mixture into ramekins. I used 6 one-cup ramekins filled a little over halfway. Place ramekins in a bain-Marie. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. The deeper the custard, the longer the cooking time., so adjust accordingly. You want the edges set and the center slightly jiggly.
Make a slit down the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Rosie Tip #531 Don't throw away that bean! Keep it in your special jar of vanilla-scented sugar. Makes a nice vanilla sprinkling of sugar on desserts or Christmas cookies.
Slowly, pour the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, whisking constantly so the eggs won't curdle or scramble. This is called "tempering" the yolks.
These are 1 cup ramekins filled a little over halfway. They're sitting in a bain-Marie, which is simply a water bath. Set the ramekins in a baking dish and pour water halfway up the sides. This method of baking allows the custards to cook without cracking or curdling. A slow, gentle heat keeps the eggs soft and smooth. If you wanted to add a bit more goodness, you could sprinkle some lemon, orange, or lime zest in there. It's up to you.
Chilled and ready to caramelize. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of sugar evenly over top. Take out your trusty torch and have at it!