Classic Creme Brulee (platingsandpairings)

2 c heavy cream, chilled, divided
1/3 c sugar
pinch table salt
1/2 vanilla bean
6 large egg yolks
6 t turbinado sugar or Demerara sugar

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 F. Combine 1 c cream, sugar and salt in medium saucepan; with paring knife, scrape seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (halved lengthwise) into pan, submerge pod in cream, and bring mix to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves. Take pan off heat and let steep 15 min to infuse flavors. Meanwhile, place a white kitchen towel in bottom of large baking dish or roasting pan and arrange 4, 4 – 5 oz ramekins on towel. Bring kettle or large saucepan of water to boil over high heat. After cream has steeped, stir in remaining 1 c cream to cool down mix. Whisk yolks in large bowl until broken up and combined. Whisk about 1/2 c cream mix into yolks until loosened and combined; repeat with another 1/2 c cream. Add remaining cream and whisk until evenly colored and thoroughly combined.
Strain through fine mesh strainer into 2 qt measuring cup or pitcher (or clean medium bowl); discard solids in strainer. Pour or ladle mix into ramekins, dividing it evenly among them. Carefully place baking dish with ramekins on oven rack; pour boiling water into dish, taking care not to splash water into ramekins, until water reaches 2/3 height of ramekins. Bake until centers of custards are just barely set, 30 – 35 min. Transfer ramekins to wire rack; cool to room temp, about 2 hours. Set ramekins on rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 4 days. Uncover ramekins; if condensation has collected on custards, place paper towel on surface to soak up moisture. Sprinkle each with about 1 t sugar; tilt and tap ramekin for even coverage. Ignite torch and caramelize sugar. Serves 4.

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