Mother Earth Living

The Queen of Beans: Decadent Vanilla Crème Brûlée

By Susan Belsinger
April/May 2005
Add to My MSN

Content Tools

Related Content

Natural Product Review: Derma E’s Cracked Skin Relief Crème

Prevent dry, cracked heels with this clove-scented Cracked Skin Relief Crème from derma e.

Herb Basics: Vanilla Bean Extract

Herb Basics: The Vanilla Bean

The Queen of Beans: Vanilla Recipes

I have always adored the fragrance of vanilla. More than once as a child, I tasted vanilla extract f...

Whipped Vanilla Butter Recipe

This Whipped Vanilla Butter recipe can be lightly sweetened or left unsweetened to your taste.

Serves 6

One vanilla bean will give this crème brûlée a delicious, subtle flavor; however two beans will provide a decadent vanilla taste. Vanilla bean paste can be used rather than whole beans (2 tablespoons paste is about equal to 2 beans).

• 2 vanilla beans
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
• 1 1/2 cups whole milk
• 2 extra-large eggs
• 6 extra-large egg yolks
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 2 pinches sea salt
• Vanilla sugar

1. Place 6 ramekins or custard cups in an ovenproof pan, such as a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish, which can hold them without touching.

2. Cut vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Using the tip of the knife, scrape most of the vanilla seeds into a heavy, nonreactive pan along with the beans. If you are using vanilla paste, add it now. Add cream and milk, stir and heat on low to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover and let infuse for 1 hour.

3. Remove beans, scraping excess into the cream. Gently reheat infused cream so it’s hot but not simmering.

4. Meanwhile, beat eggs and yolks with sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add about 1/4 cup of the hot cream mixture to the eggs and beat well. Slowly add remaining cream to egg mixture, stirring with a whisk continuously.

5. Strain the mixture through a sieve and pour evenly into the prepared ramekins. Pour hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. The custard should be set, with just barely a little shimmy in the center. Baking time will vary according to oven temperature, size of cups and other factors.

6. Carefully remove cups from the pan of hot water onto a cooling rack and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours, or overnight.

7. When ready to serve, sprinkle tops of each with about 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar and brown them under the broiler, paying close attention so they caramelize but don’t burn. They should be about 3 to 4 inches from heat for about 5 minutes. (You may also find small torches specifically made for caramelizing the sugar on crème brûlée at fine kitchen stores.) Remove from oven and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Susan Belsinger is a culinary herbalist and author of several cooking and gardening books. Her most recent contribution to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s All-Region Guide is now available in Designing an Herb Garden (Sterling Publishing, 2004).

Click here for the original article,  The Queen of Beans: Vanilla Recipes .

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.