Ah! here's that smooth texture I was looking for when I tried out Crème Carmel! This has all the thickness and decadence of ice cream, but adds some wonderful crunchy texture.
The ingredients can take on a mixture of different flavors. I've done regular vanilla, espresso, lavender, anise, and toffee. Each is a little different and can compliment a wide range of main dishes.
I've never made this dish by baking in the oven, my sister always taught me to do on the stove top. It's a little more work, but interactive and a fun way to insure you get the right consistency in the custard.... which I'm still working on.
I think a flame torch is a must for this dish, but I've heard you can use your oven on a broil setting for similar results. Just make sure to account time for setting up in the fridge and remember that there is no such thing as too thick when it comes to Brulee, only not setup!
6 egg yolks
6 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
powdered sugar, for topping
In a double boiler heat cream until small bubbles form on the sides, but not boiling. Slice vanilla bean and add to cream. After some time remove the bean, run a knife down to loosen the seeds, and add both the bean and the seeds back into the cream.
In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until slightly thickened. Add sugar and mix until dissolved. Temper the egg mixture by adding a little of the cream into the eggs and stir. Slowly pour the eggs into the cream, whisking constantly.
Continue to stir the mixture on a high heat. After 15-20 minutes the custard will begin to thicken. It should coat the back of a spoon.
With a strainer, pour into ramekins, removing the vanilla bean and any thick pieces. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 4 days, covered with plastic wrap.
When serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar and torch until caramelized on top.