If you don't have a culinary blowtorch you can run these creme brulee cups under the broiler. Watch them carefully and pull them out as soon as they start to crust and brown.
The NoMU vanilla pump is available at Whole Foods Market.
Make Ahead: Baked custards may be covered with aluminum foil and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Finish with the sugar topping just before serving.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus 4 to 6 tablespoons for sprinkling
- 4 large egg yolks
- 10 pumps vanilla paste, such as NoMU brand (may substitute 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; see headnote)
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place four 6-ounce cups or ramekins on a baking sheet.
Combine the milk, cream and a scant 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; whisk until well blended, then slowly bring just to a boil.
Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a bowl; lightly whisk to mix well.
As soon as the milk mixture comes to a boil, gradually pour it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, to form a custard. Ladle it equally among the cups or ramekins. Bake for 50 minutes, or until just set. Transfer the cups or ramekins to a wire rack; let cool to room temperature, then chill until ready to serve.
Just before serving, sprinkle each brulee with the remaining sugar (1 to 1/2 tablespoons each). Use a culinary blowtorch to caramelize the sugar until it's browned and bubbling, or place the creme brulees under a broiler to achieve the same effect. Serve hot.
Adapted from "Eggs," by Michel Roux (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005).
Tested by Leigh Lambert.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.