I just so happened to have twelve egg yolks just lying around. Yes, egg yolks. Yes, twelve. I never have this problem (but you'll find out why real soon, I promise). Usually I'm left with half a dozen egg whites, with no cravings for angel food cake or omelettes, so they get stashed in the freezer and never emerge again. My freezer is where egg whites go to die. But an excess of egg yolks? This is such a good problem to have. The most decadent desserts require these. And oh how I love decadent desserts.
Can you name something more decadent than creme brulee? Exactly. Creme brulee is near the top of that glorious decadent dessert list. And so, it needed to be made.
My friend gave me some vanilla beans out of the kindness of his own heart. I've never actually held a vanilla bean in real life, so I was really excited. Almost too excited. Like any good cook, I sat and watched YouTube videos on how to properly cut vanilla beans. I only got vanilla seeds up my nose once (don't ask). The flecks of vanilla in the dessert are so appealing and the taste is fantastic. I just might have to throw caution (and cash) to the the wind and buy vanilla beans more often.
This raspberry vanilla bean creme brulee is so smooth in texture and taste. The raspberries almost melt into the custard. The flavors of the vanilla and raspberry meld together so perfectly, you might imagine that they are not two separate flavors, but one. Everyone's favorite part of a creme brulee is cracking the sugar crust (and if it isn't, it should be) and this creme brulee is no exception. The sugary crust provides the perfect contrast to the silky smooth texture of the custard. You know you want to eat this.
Raspberry Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
Adapted from Alton Brown
Yields 8 6-ounce servings
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
1/3 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
1 cup raspberries (fresh, not frozen)
8 cups boiling water
1/2 cup sugar for topping
In a medium saucepan, mix together the cream, milk, and vanilla (including the seeds and the pod). Over medium high heat, cook the mixture until it boils. Once boiling, remove from heat, cover, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Strain out the vanilla pod.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and lightened in color. Add the cream slowly, stirring continuously until well mixed.
Place the raspberries evenly between the 8 ramekins (the bottom of my ramekins were 3/4 covered in raspberries). Pour the liquid over the raspberries. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan and fill the pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 45 minutes. When the ramekin is lightly shaken, there should not be concentric circles appearing in the middle of the creme brulee. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
After cooled for at least two hours in the refrigerator, take the ramekins out and divide the 1/2 cup sugar equally between the 8 ramekins and sprinkle evenly on top. Using the broiler on your oven (or a kitchen torch), melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Watch closely if using the broiler so the sugar doesn't burn. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Creme brulee can be served hot or cold. I love it both ways.