My absolutely favorite kitchen tool is also the one I use least. As crazy as it sounds, just having a torch makes me feel confident in the kitchen and lighting it up makes me feel like a pro. Crème Brûlée looks so much more impressive than it is. It's pretty foolproof and so fun to make. The minute I got samples of La Canne's incredible sugars, I knew exactly how I wanted to use them. The Smoked Pecan flavor made the perfect crackly crust to a silky smooth custard below.
4 cups of chilled heavy cream (divided)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise and seeds scraped out)
12 large egg yolks (freeze the whites for another use)
8 heaped teaspoons of Pecan Smoked Sugar
8 ramekins (about 4 or 5oz)
1 culinary torch
1. Heat oven to 300°F.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 cups of the cream, sugar and vanilla seeds as well as the pod. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once it's come to a boil, turn the heat off and let the mixture steep for about 15 minutes.
3.Stir the remaining 2 cups of cream into the mixture, stir well and remove the vanilla pod.
4. Line a large roasting pan that will fit all the ramekins with a kitchen towel. Arrange the ramekins on the towel. Bring a kettle of water to the boil.
5. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until combined. Whisk in about a cup of the cream mixture until combined. Repeat with a cup each time until all the mixture is combined with the yolks and looks evenly colored.
6. Evenly divide the mixture between the ramekins and carefully place the baking dish on the rack in the oven. Then very carefully pour boiling water into the pan, making sure not to get any in the ramekins. Keep adding until the water is half way up the ramekins.
7. Bake until the custard have just set; about 30 minutes.
8. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and bring to room temperature; about an hour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. At this point, you can leave them for up to 4 days.
9. When you're ready, uncover the ramekins and blot any condensation with a paper towel. Sprinkle each ramekin with a heaped teaspoon of Smoked Pecan Sugar. Tilt and tap the ramekins to evenly distribute the sugar.
10. Then the fun part. Ignite the torch and burn the sugar until it's nice and dark. Refrigerate uncovered to set the sugar for about 5-10 minutes but no longer than 40 minutes.