Spoil (and impress) your beloved with a dreamy creme brulee.
Spoil (and impress) your beloved with a dreamy creme brulee. Maggie Cooper

That burning desire for lovely treat

OH SWEET, sweet Valentine's Day - the perfect time to indulge in the sinfully rich French dessert known as creme brulee.

The literal translation of crème brulee is burnt cream; a misnomer, in fact, as it's not the cream that is burned but the crunchy toffee topping.

To achieve the perfect topping it's worth investing in a cook's blowtorch. You can buy cheap brands but probably a mid-range price tag will deliver better service without breaking the budget.

Creme brulee

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

250ml pure (unthickened) cream

1/4 cup caster sugar plus one tablespoon extra

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 large free-range egg yolks (reserve whites for another recipe)

fresh berries, to serve

METHOD: Preheat oven to 160 degrees.

Place two oven-proof ramekins in a small baking dish.

Place cream in a saucepan with 1/4 cup sugar and add vanilla bean paste.

Heat over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edge; do not allow to boil.

Using a wire balloon whisk, whisk egg yolks in a jug.

Still using the whisk, beat the hot cream into the egg and sugar mixture until combined.

Pour custard into the ramekins, and use a spoon to skim off any froth.

Fill the baking dish with enough hot water to come halfway up the ramekins and cook custard at 160 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Custards should still jiggle a little.

Remove from oven and carefully lift each ramekin clear of the water with a spatula or egg slice.

Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack then cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least an hour.

TO SERVE: Sit the ramekins in cold water in a baking dish to prevent curdling.

Sprinkle the tops of the custards with the remaining caster sugar.

Using a cook's blowtorch, heat the sugar, moving the flame constantly, until it bubbles and turns a rich dark brown.

Serve with fresh berries.

Contact Maggie at maggies.column@bigpond.com



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