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Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée with Orange Essence

Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée with Orange Essence

Chef Kevin Cousin

Table 9, Northampton, MA



  • 1 quart of Heavy cream (40% fat)
  • 1 vanilla bean (Tahitian or Madagascar)
  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • Zest of 1/3 naval orange
  • ½ cup sugar in the raw
  • 4 8oz Ramekins
  • ½ sheet tray
  • Bunsen Burner Torch


Using a paring knife split vanilla bean down the middle; scrape the seeds with tip of knife.
Place pod & seeds in a medium size pot with the heavy cream, white sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer, whisk and pull off heat.
Let mixture steep for 10 minutes to extract the flavor from the vanilla bean.
Meanwhile pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
Separate 8 egg yolks, discard the egg whites or save for another purpose.
Strain the cream mixture through a fine sieve into a separate bowl, some vanilla beans will come through, that's normal. Slowly whisk in the cream mixture into the egg yolks whisking and pouring in a slow stream to temper egg yolks.
Pour the custard mixture into 4 (8oz) oven proof ramekins.
Place ramekins in sheet tray or baking dish, fill 1/3 to the side of the ramekins with warm water. This is called a water bath and it assures the even cooking of the custard, do not put too much water in or it will spill into the custard.
Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes or until custard is slightly set and jiggles in the middle.
Carefully pull from the water bath and place in refrigerator to let it set completely.
When ready to serve, sprinkle top evenly with sugar in the raw, using a small torch to caramelize the top.
Serve with fresh fruit and biscotti if you like.

Serves: 4


Recommended wine/beer for Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée with Orange Essence:

Andrew Quady 2005 Electra Orange Muscat [Madera, California]

Electra weighs in at very low octane—it tips the scales at a mere 4% alcohol, technically not even high enough to be called wine! No matter. It has just the right flavors and residual sugar to accompany Table 9’s Crème Brûlée. The Orange Muscat grapes are cold-fermented and then chilled even more to arrest the fermentation so as to retain a high degree of residual sweetness. It also has a slight effervescence that helps make it quite easy to drain the bottle in between bites of the satiny custard.