Featured Recipe: Chef David’s Classic Créme Brûlée
There are few things more classically French than crème brûlée. After all, the name is French for “burnt cream.” The iconic French dessert is a complex blend of contrasts – it is at once creamy and crisp, sweet but slightly tangy, fancy in form yet simple to make. But when it’s made correctly, a bowl of crème brûlée is mouthwatering magic in every bite.
The first known recipe for crème brûlée appeared in Le cuisinier royal et bourgeois, a 1691 cookbook by French chef François Massialot. Although his version was slightly different than the modern recipe – he called for making a disc of caramelized sugar rather than melting it on top – his traditional blend of cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla formed a famous flavor that’s still enjoyed today.
Chef David Pan’s own crème brûlée recipe uses those same simple ingredients to craft a rich and flavorful dessert that’s perfect for any occasion. Be sure to request it when booking your personal chef dinner in Orange Beach.
Chef Pan’s Traditional Crème Brûlée
1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the crème brûlée is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes.
- Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. Remove the crème brûlée from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the crème brûlée to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.