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Vanilla Creme Brulee with Fresh Berries
Makes 6 Servings
*1 vanilla bean
*2 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
*8 large egg yolks
*1/4 cup superfine white sugar, +6 teaspoons
*1 cup fresh berries: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries
*Fresh mint for garnish
*Confectioners sugar for dusting
1Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
2Slit vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife and place in a saucepan with cream. Scald the cream by heating it until bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan; do not let the cream boil. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes to allow the vanilla flavor to infuse into the cream.
3Remove the vanilla bean pod and scrape the seeds from the inside of the pod into the cream. Discard bean pod.
4Separately, whisk egg yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar together in a bowl until mixture is pale yellow. Slowly and gradually whisk warm cream into the egg and sugar mixture, stirring to combine. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan.
5Divide the mixture into 6 6-ounce oven-proof ramekins, filling them about 3/4 full. Place inside a roasting pan and pour warm water around the dishes to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins to form a water bath.
6Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes until the custards are just firm, but tremble slightly when shaken. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack. Refrigerate 3-4 hours.
7Just before serving, sprinkle the top of each custard with about 1 teaspoon of sugar. Hold a kitchen torch 2 inches above the surface and brown the sugar using circular motions. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. (See Notes for alternate method.)
8To serve, top with fresh fruit and garnish with a sprig of mint. Dust with confectioners sugar.
  • Alternately, heat broiler. Sprinkle sugar over each custard. Place on a baking sheet and broil until the sugar is caramelized and brown. Watch carefully so that they do not burn.