I used this BBC recipe, but I’ve got fancy pants vanilla essence which contains vanilla seeds, which I used in place of the vanilla pod because I’m not made of money, it gives a lovely flavour and you still get the flecks of vanilla. I also used this almond puff pastry sticks recipe to serve with them, but I found them a bit too dry.
I love the first bit of the bake – lining up all of the ingredients. They don’t look like much separately, and there aren’t many required to make this, but you create something totally new (and delicious) from them.
This crème brûlée recipe called for a baking tray, balanced on a deep roasting tray with hot water in it, which I felt was an accident waiting to happen, especially when you have to “jiggle” them to see if they’re done), but it went incident-free. They took nearly twice as long to cook as the recipe said (recipe said 30-35 minutes, mine took 54 with four oven door openings), but I’d have a bit more confidence in taking them out slightly sooner next time.
You then leave them in the fridge while you go out all day (that’s what I did, anyway), and then I had intended to blowtorch them, but I’d ran out of lighter fluid. You’ve got to have quick hands to do them under the grill, but I (and Mary Berry) think it’s the better way of doing it. I popped them back in the fridge for a minute to quickly cool it again, it seems to have given a great finish.
I did get lighter fluid the next day and blowtorched the remaining two, but it seems to spray the sugar up the sides of the pots, so it’s not quite as neat a finish. However, it’s quite good fun and it’s not every day you get to use a blowtorch. Unless you’re a welder.