Surprise Creme Brulee

Serves 6

  • You will need six 7.5cm (3in) ramekins
  • Easter bread (Panettone)
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 75g (3oz) caster sugar
  • 600ml (1pt) double cream
  • 6 teaspoons caster sugar to glaze

Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F/Gas 1). Cut six slices of bread about 1cm thick then using a round pastry cutter the same size as your ramekins, cut six discs of bread and place one in the bottom of each ramekin. If using a vanilla pod, split in half and scrape the seeds into a saucepan, then add the pod or vanilla extract and the cream. Bring gently to the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for five minutes or so. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Bring the cream carefully back to the boil, remove the vanilla pod if used, and while still whisking the egg and sugar mix, pour in the hot cream. Pour the custard mixture into a jug and carefully pour into the ramekins to cover the bread. Leave for five minutes for the panettone to absorb the liquid, then top up to fill the ramekins. Place the ramekins in a deep-sided roasting tin, and pour boiling water into the tin to about a third of the way up the ramekins. Place in the oven and cook for about 40-50 minutes until the brûlées are firm, but still slightly wobbly in the centre when shaken. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. To finish the brûlées, once cooled and set, sprinkle with the sugar and glaze with a blowtorch (if you have one) or under a preheated grill, having the ramekins as close as possible to the heat and keeping a close eye until the tops turn a golden caramel colour. The brûlées are now ready to serve. You can make these the day before and keep in the fridge until you need them but don‘t glaze them. Do that just before you want to serve them so that the caramelised sugar will stay crisp.

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