Salted Almond Creme Brulee
I have been on a little bit of a creme brulee kick lately.
This particular recipe happens to be my father's favorite, while my husband really likes the spicy chocolate-lined classic creme brulee I posted before.
For an awesome, decadent twist, try lining the ramekins with white chocolate before pouring in the custard!
1 - 1.5
Preheat the oven to 325 and move the rack into the center of the oven.
To prepare the vanilla bean, use a paring knife to carefully slice it in half lengthwise; then you can use the paring knife to scrape the seeds out of their pods and get ready to infuse the cream with its flavor.
Pour the whipping cream into a saucepan. Add the vanilla seeds (and the pod) as well as the almond extract and bring to a simmer over medium heat, being sure to stir constantly.
Once the cream is simmering, reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer while the vanilla and almond flavors are infused. This usually takes about 12-15 minutes. You do not have to be stirring it constantly while you do this, but do make sure you watch it carefully and do not let a skin form on the top.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the kosher salt until well blended.
Once the cream is finished, remove the vanilla pod. Get a kettle or another sauce pan filled with water over high heat and start that to boiling while you assemble the custard.
Slowly pour the milky mixture into the eggs, making sure to whisk the entire time. This is very important because if you pour the cream in too fast, you'll cook the eggs, which is not good.
Once everything is whisked together, use a spatula or large spoon to carefully skim any foam or bubbles from the top of the custard. Then arrange your ramekins in a large, deep baking pan. I use a 11x15x2 cake pan for all of my creme brulee recipes.
This is when you're going to build your water bath. Place the entire pan onto the rack of your oven (you'll need to pull the rack out a little bit to allow yourself enough room to work). Then carefully pour the boiling water into the pan (hence the use of the kettle; if you don't have a kettle, use a sauce pan to boil the water and move the water to a pitcher before pouring into the pan. This will give you added control). Do not let any water get into any of the ramekins. Fill the cake pan with the water until it comes up to about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. I usually start check at the 40 minute mark. You're looking for the custards to be set, so as you pull them out of the oven you should not see them jiggling very much.
After the 3 hours pass, use plastic wrap to cover the custards. Make sure that the plastic wrap actually touches the top of the custard - which will ensure that no air is getting through.
To serve, sprinkle a dash of kosher salt on the top of the custard. Then Top each ramekin with 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of the turbinado sugar. You can tilt the ramekins to spread the sugar out evenly. Then, get ready to torch them. Make sure you hold the blowtorch about 2-3 inches away from the sugar - and keep moving. If you leave the torch sitting over one spot for too long, you'll puncture through to the custard which is not what we want. Continue to evenly heat up the sugar until it melts together into a caramel colored crust. This is only going to take you about a minute or two per serving.
Once you've caramelized the top, you can place the custards back into the refrigerator for up to 10-15 minutes. You really should serve them right away, though; after a few minutes, the caramelized sugar will start to soften and you'll lose some of that crispy yumminess.