Following my mention of Crème Brûlée in Five things to eat before I die here is my version.
The following is the recipe exactly as it appears in my Sainsbury's Desserts and Puddings recipe book. Why they felt the need to specify the carton size I do not know. Since they did, what they should have done is write "2 x 284 ml (2 x 10 fl oz)" or better yet simply "568 ml (20 fl oz)". Using 1 x 284 ml (1 x 10 fl oz) meant this only just served 4.
Nowadays what I normally do is use the full amount of cream, increase the number of egg yolks to 6 and still regard it as "serves 6". Also I don't use vanilla essence, I cut open a vanilla pod and scrape all the black gooey seeds into the custard making sure to disperse them as best I can.
As for chilling overnight I wish I planned that far ahead. Normally I make them that day, chill them until it is time to prepare the rest of the dinner, brûlée them, pop them back in the fridge and hope my guests don't eat too fast so they have time to cool down again.
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 x 284 ml (10 fl oz) cartons double cream
few drops of vanilla essence
50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together. Warm the cream in a double saucepan, or bowl over a pan of simmering water. Carefully stir in the egg mixture. Continue cooking gently, stirring constantly, until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the vanilla essence.
Strain into 6 ramekin dishes and place in a roasting pan, containing 2.5 cm (1 inch) water. Place in a preheated cool oven, 140°C (275°F), Gas Mark 1, for 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove the dishes from the pan, cool then chill in the refrigerator overnight.
To finish: Sprinkle evenly with sugar. Place under a preheated hot grill until the sugar has caramelized. Cool, then chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.
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