Lemon Crème Brûlée


Juice of 2 lemons                            ½ cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar

2 cups heavy cream                        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of 1 lemon                                3 egg yolks


Preheat oven to 300° F.

Line a shallow baking pan with a kitchen towel.  Have a pot of boiling water ready.. 

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the lemon juice to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the juice is reduced to about 1 tablespoons, 3 to 5 minutes. 

In another saucepan, over medium heat, combine the cream, lemon zest and the ½ cup sugar.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until steam rises, 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the vanilla and egg yolks until smooth and combined.  Slowly add the cream mixture, whiskying constantly, then stir in the reduced lemon juice.  Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl and divide among six 3.5 ounce ramekins.  Place ramekins in the prepared baking pan and add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custards are just set, about 40 minutes.

Remove the ramekins from the pan and transfer toa  wire rack.  Cool the custards to room temperature, about 1 ½ hours, then refrigerate for 3 hours.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over the surface of each custard.  Using a kitchen torch* according to the manufacturer’s instructions, move the flame continuously in small circles over the surface until the sugar melts and lightly browns. 

Serve immediately.


*alternatively, caramelize in your oven’s broiler.

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