Had some heavy cream left over from another recipe a week ago, and wanted to use it rather than letting it sit forgotten in the fridge until it went bad. Creme brûlée seemed like a good use.
A relatively high-key treatment seemed like it made sense for this dish, so that’s what I was shooting for here. Nikon D7000 w/Nikkor ƒ/1.8 50mm prime, 1/250s @ ƒ/8, ISO100. One DB700 in my octabox to the rear of the scene, full power, 85mm zoom; second SB700 bounced off a white umbrella to the front of the scene to fill the shadows a bit, also full power, 85mm zoom. I had to block off a chunk of the octabox with a black card to reduce the glare on the caramel.
For my Flickr friends, I continue to be ridiculously busy, although I plan on trying to do a little commenting this evening. No idea when things will let up, but I will most likely remain scarce for a little while longer.
4 large egg yolks
2/3 c. vanilla sugar, plus a few teaspoons
1 vanilla bean
2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. milk
1 tbl. bourbon
Preheat your oven to 325°F, and bring 2 qt. of water to a boil.
Whisk the egg yolks until lightened. Scrape the beans from the vanilla bean pod and whisk them in. Add 2/3 c. of the sugar, and whisk until you reach the ribbon stage. Carefully add the milk, cream, and bourbon, then strain to get out any fibrous matter from the vanilla bean.
Pour into 6 creme brûlée ramekins or other 4 oz. ramekins. Put the ramekins in a larger lipped pan, put them in the oven, then fill the lipped pan with water enough to come half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake 35-45 minutes, until the custard is set but the center still jiggles (the finish temperature of the custard, which I like to be just barely set, should be about 185°F.)
Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool completely in the refrigerator to set up, at least 2 hours.
About 15 minutes before you want to serve them, remove the ramekins from the refrigerator, and let them sit out for 10 minutes. To each ramekin, add about 1 tsp. of sugar, and carefully turn the ramekin to get a thin coat over the entire surface. Using a blowtorch, carefully melt the sugar, trying to get even caramelization over the whole surface (this takes a little practice.) You can return them to the fridge for 5 minutes or so before serving if you like to firm the custard up a bit.
By the way, don't waste your money on a butane pastry torch; for a quarter of the cost you can buy a good propane plumbers torch.