Tahitian Vanilla Creme Brulee

READY IN: 50mins




  • Preheat the oven to 325 f.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the half-and-half, vanilla bean, and vanilla extract.
  • Heat over medium heat just until scalded; do not allow the mixture to boil.
  • Fill a large bowl with water and add ice.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the egg, egg yolks, and granulated sugar and mix.
  • Gradually stir in the scalded half-and-half mixture and place the smaller bowl in the bowl of ice water to cool completely.
  • Stir in the heavy cream and divide among eight 4-ounce ramekins.
  • Place in a baking dish just large enough to hold them and add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake until the custard is set but still quivers in the center, about 35 minutes.
  • Remove the ramekins from the water and refrigerate to cool completely.
  • Preheat the broiler, if using.
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar on top of each custard, spread over the surface, and tap out any excess.
  • Place the ramekins on a broiling tray and broil until the top is melted and caramelized, about 30 seconds.
  • Watch carefully; the sugar can burn easily.
  • If using a torch pass the flame about 2 inches over the surface of the custards until the sugar is completely caramelized.
  • Serve while still warm.
  • Ming's Tip: To caramelize the sugar coating, use either a broiler or propane torch. Working with the latter may seem scary, but torches are easily handled and are beautifully efficient. Look for a small version, often called a kitchen torch. If using a torch, replace the superfine sugar. Raw sugar caramelizes more successfully under a torch flame.