This is one of our favorite dessert recipes ever. It’s both straightforward and fun to make, because who doesn’t like attacking their food with a blowtorch?
Baking note: You can bake the custards in a pan of hot water, which will make the surface come out smoother. However, since you’re going to cover it with a layer of melted sugar anyway, this step seems unnecessarily complicated.
Adapted from All Recipes
Yield: 6 servings
For the custard:
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy cream
- grated peel from 1 lemon (optional)
For the topping:
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat oven to 300ºF. Place 6 shallow heat-proof dishes on a baking sheet.
- Beat egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy.
- Pour cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to boil.
- Remove the cream from heat immediately and stir into the egg yolk mixture; beat until combined.
- Pour cream mixture into the top pan of a double boiler. Stir over simmering water until mixture lightly coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. If desired, stir in grated lemon peel.
- Remove mixture from heat immediately and pour into dishes.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Sprinkle 4 tablespoons sugar evenly over the 6 dishes of custard.
- Oven method:
Preheat oven to broil. Place dishes under broiler until sugar melts, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully so as not to burn. Blowtorch method:
Hold a blowtorch so the tip of the flame touches and melts the sugar. Keep the flame moving over the surface so the sugar doesn’t burn.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool. You can refrigerate the dishes to set the custard, but I usually eat it as soon as the sugar crust has hardened. You can check this by tapping it lightly with a spoon.