Creme Brule or Catalan
- stock pot, mixing bowl, whisk, heat resisting bowls
- 500 ml or 2 cups whole milk
- 225 g or 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Lemon Zest
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 1 Vanilla bean split and the insides scraped into the pot along with the whole bean
- 6 large egg yolks
- 150 g or 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tsp cornstarch
- sugar for the burnt sugar topping
- Pour the milk and cream in a small stock pot and add the zest of one lemon, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the milk is just on the bring of boiling. Then turn off the heat, cover.
- Let sit and cool for at least 30 minutes to infuse the milk with the added flavors then remove the citrus zest, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean.
- Meanwhile put the sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks in a mixing bowl; Whisk until smooth and pale then pour the sugar egg yolk mix in the milk mixture and whisk until combined.
- Slowly heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until it is thickened. DO NOT BOIL.
- Pour the custard into bowls and cover the bowls with plastic wrap. After cooling place them in the refrigerator to chill overnight. The longer the custard chills the more time the flavor will have to develop.
- Remove the custard from the fridge at least 20 minutes before serving to come to room temperature.
- Then sprinkle with sugar. (The more you add, the thicker the crunchy burnt sugar topping will be. But be careful or it will end up being overly sweet.) Use a butane kitchen torch to "burn" the sugar until it's a rich golden brown with some dark areas (see Note for alternate method). The ramekins will be very hot so let them sit for a minute or two and then serve immediately.
Broiler Method: Broil until the sugar is caramelized (take it direct out of the fridge), but be careful not to crack the bowls.