There’s something so seductive about a créme brulee. Maybe it’s the anticipation of cracking through the toffee layer before plunging your spoon into the soft, smooth custard. Or maybe it’s the satisfaction you get as you wield a blowtorch while you watch the sugar melt, bubble and burn under its flame. Either way it’s pure poetry.
This is a version of the classic dessert I made for a friend who’s mad for white chocolate. Personally I prefer the classic vanilla version but this makes for a gratifying change. As with most desserts that involves white chocolate, the sugar level gets taken up a few notches so a word of warning – this is one seriously sweet dessert!
White Chocolate Créme Brulee
250ml pouring cream
6 egg yolks at room temperature
1/4 C caster sugar
200g good quality white chocolate, broken into small pieces
20ml vanilla extract
extra caster sugar for brulée top
Heat the milk and cream in a medium saucepan over low heat until scalding point (when you see steam rising from the surface) but *do not boil*. Remove from heat.
While that’s off the heat whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl with a balloon whisk.
Add the warm milk mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly, until combined. Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon for about 9 minutes or until custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon.
Remove from heat and add the white chocolate and vanilla extract and stir until it’s all melted and mixed. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
Ladle the custard into the ramekins. Place them in a baking tray and refrigerate for 6-8 hours or overnight. The custard will thicken and form a skin on the surface.
To serve, place about a teaspoon of caster sugar over the entire surface of each ramekin and blowtorch the sugar and enjoy the show as it bubbles, melts and darkens in colour before finally hardening into a hard toffee.
Alternatively if you don’t have a blowtorch you can use the grill / broiler. Place the créme brulees (straight out of the fridge) in a baking tray (with the sugar layer of course).
Fill with cold water to the halfway mark of the ramekins. Add ice to the water bath and place in a very hot grill on the top shelf so the sugar sits directly underneath the heat. This will caramelise the sugar while the custard (hopefully) stays cool from the ice water bath. It won’t take long so keep an eye on it and don’t leave the room!
Now equip yourself with a spoon and enjoy!