Crème Brulee in French means “burned cream”. As much as I love rich foods, the thought of eating heavy cream and egg yolks (more fat) is too much even for me. However, loving everything of the brulee/flan/pudding family I wanted to find a way to still enjoy this dessert. The cream brulee under the crackling sugar coating can still be enjoyed but with a lighter touch. If you can find Tahitian vanilla, use it by all means for an unforgettable flavor. It can be found on the internet. If not, look for Madagascar vanilla to get the most flavor.
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups half and half
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Put five 5 ounce oven proof ramekins in a 9x13 inch pan. Set aside.
With a hand whisk, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until they lighten in color. In the meantime heat the half and half until very hot, but not boiling. While whisking constantly, slowly pour in the half and half. Whisk just until mixed.
Divide the mixture among the ramekins, filling them to the top. Carefully pour hot water half way up the ramekins. Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the oven. (This is strictly for safety and to make it easier to put the water filled pan in and out of the oven.) Bake for 1 hour or until the centers just jiggle a little when lightly shaken. Remove from the oven and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Carefully lift each ramekin out of the water and dry the bottom. Refrigerate for 6 to 7 hours or overnight.
Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the top of the brulee. Using a hand held torch, quickly go back and forth to brown the sugar. Try to brown the center part first and then go around the edges. This keeps the edges from burning. Wait 15 to 20 minutes before serving for the sugar to cool.