1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract (don't use imitation)
1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
Garnish: Fresh Raspberries, Fresh Mint Sprigs
Combine first four ingredients in medium bowl. Whisk with wire whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture is smooth. Pour evenly into five (5X1") round individual baking custard or mini-soufflee dishes. Place dishes in large roasting pan filled with about 1/2" of boiling water.
Bake at 275 degrees for 45 to 50 mins. until almost set. Slip a wire rack under the custard cups and cool them in the water in the roasting pan. When cool, remove the cups, cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, sprinkle about 1-1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar evenly over each custard and place them on a cookie sheet, broiling about 5 inches from the heat. (Leave oven door slightly ajar to keep eye on them to avoid burning.) You can also use a kitchen "blow torch" to brown the top in lieu of putting them in oven. Garnish with a few raspberries and a sprig of mint and serve immediately while top is still warm.
NOTE: When I do the top browning, I set the cups back into the roasting pan with ice water up to the bottom half of the cups. I place the roasting pan in the oven on an inverted second roasting pan so that the cups are about 2 inches from the broiler. One of the true delights of Creme Brulees as I enjoyed them while living and traveling in France for many years was taking a bite of these heavenly creations and tasting the wonderful warmed caramelized top while at the same time experiencing the icy interior.
From the Cliff Cottage Inn Cookbook by Sandra CH Smith - cookbook includes many variations of the Brulee. Recipe copywrited.
Place the custard cups on a paper doily on one of your grandmother's antique dessert plates, serve with a sweet dessert wine and wait for the rave reviews to pour in!
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