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Elizabeth Poett's Almond Creme Brulee

Almond Crème Brûlée

byElizabeth Poett
Total 3 hours (includes chilling)
Active 25 mins
Makes 4 servings
I have a vivid childhood memory of using a spoon to crack through the caramelized top layer of a crème brûlée. What a satisfying sound! I found all the delicious, tiny vanilla bean seeds at the bottom of that ramekin and scraped every last morsel out of the dish. There is something that feels festive about everyone having their own little baking dish of dessert. I love almonds, and the rich amaretto and almond flavors in this recipe make this crème brûlée an extra-special creamy treat.
TIP: It’s important to combine the hot cream and egg yolks very gradually to avoid scrambling the eggs; the eggs are first “tempered” by whisking a very small amount of cream in, then the remainder is slowly added while whisking to avoid the temperature of the whole rising too quickly.
Special Equipment
four 6-ounce ramekins; a kitchen torch
Special Equipment
four 6-ounce ramekins; a kitchen torch
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 8 teaspoons for topping
  • Sliced almonds, for garnish
    1. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil.
    2. Combine the cream, amaretto, almond extract, and salt in a medium heavy saucepan. Cut a lengthwise slit in the vanilla bean. Use the tip of a sharp knife to scoop and scrape the seeds out of the pod. Add both the seeds and the pod to the pot. Heat the cream mixture over low heat until it just begins to steam and simmer. Turn off the heat.
    3. Whisk the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a large bowl until fully combined. Whisk constantly, use a ladle to add a small amount of the hot cream mixture to the egg mixture. Gradually pour in the rest of the cream while whisking. Pour the custard mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup with a spout.
    4. Place four 6-ounce ramekins in a baking pan. Remove the vanilla bean pod (discard it or save for another use). Pour equal amounts of the custard mixture into the ramekins, filling them to 1/2 centimeter (scant 1/4 inch) of the top.
    5. Pour boiling water into the baking pan around the ramekins to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully set the pan in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until the center of each custard is just set. Transfer the ramekins from the pan to a cooling rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
    6. Just before serving, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar in an even layer over the top of each custard. Use a kitchen torch to melt and caramelize the sugar. Move the torch constantly as you work to create an even layer of browned, caramelized sugar over the top of each dessert. If you do not have a torch, turn the oven to broil. Move your oven rack so that the ramekins will be about 3 inches from the heat source. Broil until the sugar melts and browns, 2 to 3 minutes depending on the oven.
    7. Let the custards cool for 5 minutes, garnish with a few sliced almonds, and serve.