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There are many recipes for cr?me br?l?e but this is the traditional version that uses just egg yolks, cream and sugar, with a touch of vanilla, and is smooth, rich and creamy. There is nothing better than cracking the thin crust of golden caramelised sugar with the back of your spoon and scooping out the soft custard below.


  • 500ml/18fl oz double cream

  • 2 vanilla pods

  • 9 medium egg yolks

  • 50g/13/4oz caster sugar, plus about 100g/31/2oz caster sugar for glazing

  • serves 8


  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2.

  • 2.

    Put the cream in a  saucepan. Slit the vanilla pods open lengthways and, using the back of  a small knife, scrape the seeds from inside the pod into the cream. Add  the pods to the cream and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, mix the egg yolks and sugar together lightly, just enough to combine them. Pour the 

  • 3.

    Boiled cream over the eggs and sugar, mix well and pass through a very 

  • 4.

    Fine sieve.

  • 5.

    Fill 8 small ramekins to the top with the custard and place them in a roasting tin. Fill the tin with enough cold water to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of the ramekins, then place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until the custard is set. To test, gently shake the ramekins; the custard should not wobble. If you are not sure, you can insert a knife to see if the custard is cooked in the centre of the dish.

  • 6.

    Lift the ramekins from the roasting tin and place on a small tray. Leave to cool, then chill. When they are completely chilled, they are ready for glazing. Using a teaspoon, spread enough sugar over the top of each custard to make a smooth, thin, even layer. With a blowtorch, burn the sugar until it melts and creates a thin sheet of golden caramel. Let the caramel cool and harden before serving; this will only take a minute or two.

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