Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Creme brûlée with Hansells NaturalVanilla extract with seeds - Recipe

I am a bull-headed despot when it comes to vanilla and loathe vanilla sugar, vanilla extract and crime of all crime … vanilla flavouring. Whole vanilla pods were the only vanilla products ever entering my kitchen until recently.

I had a dinner party to plan and pana cotta to make as I promised my friends I will bring the puds.
After searching the spice aisle, the pastry section and the "specialty" products at my local supermarket, I had to admit defeat and accept the fact they had run out of vanilla pods !
No time to shop elsewhere as the panna cotta had to set for the evening, I surrendered and bought a bottle of Hansells Natural vanilla extract with seeds.

It is made in New Zealand (I tend to buy British produce over anything else) BUT it looked natural enough and the seeds in there may not give my cheating, corner-cutting trick away.
Well well, it really was a nice surprise in the end !

Still preferring the pods; I will adopt this little saver in a money-saving, time-saving bid from time to time.
It really is as close as it gets to the real stuff and works out much cheaper. (£3.50/50ml from Tesco)

I will not share my secret recipe of Pana Cotta this time (maybe in a few weeks) but will give you a walk through the classic Creme Brûlée.
It is best made the night/day before but doesn't need much time to set ;-)

Ingredients for 2 (and a kid's) servings :

- 290ml or 1/2pt double cream
- 1 tsp Hansells vanilla extract with seeds
- 1 egg + 3 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp caster sugar + enough for the topping

Method :

1. Pre-heat the oven to 170c
2. Pour the cream into a saucepan and heat until it starts bubbling
3. Meanwhile, beat the egg and yolks with the sugar until lighter in colour and foamy. Pour the mix into the cream and start stirring off the heat

4. Place the saucepan back onto the lowest possible heat. Or even better on a bain-marie and heat very
gently; stirring at all time until the custard reaches a thicker consistency. (Coating the back of a spoon)

5. Immediately remove from the heat and strain into the ramequins. Your custard may have curdled a bit a the bottom, this is why you are straining it … no panic

6. Bake, uncovered for 6 to 8 minutes or until a crust starts forming
7. Leave in the fridge to set overnight

8. The next day, sprinkle the top of  the custard with a good layer of caster sugar. You may be tempted to use brown sugar, please don't. It will NOT brown faster and the taste of brown sugar is too strong for caramelisation
9. Either "burn" the sugar with a blow torch or under the grill and place back in the fridge to harden
Et voilà ! (see pic above)

Disclaimer : The opinions given on the product featured in this review is 100% my own.
Hansells did not ask me or offer to review their product and did not sponsor this post


  1. caroline kelly19 May 2013 at 21:41

    looks lovely, I've always been scared to try to make creme brulee but might have to give it a go now!

    1. Really is much easier than it looks ;-)

  2. I love Creme Brule. Often when you see chefs making this on TV they're whipping out the blow torch - which looks scary!

    1. You can get small kitchen blowtorch for household, they are not as scary as the professional stuff.
      The grill can work quite well but I once had a ramequin who cracked under the heat. Make sure the container you use is heat proof ;-) xx

  3. I loathe vanilla other than vanilla ice cream, this does look yummy

  4. Your crème brulees look great...I've never tried making them but I might give it a go now! :-)

    1. Let us know how you got on Laura. xx

  5. This looks and sounds divine

  6. This looks and sounds divine

  7. Love the look of this, given me inspiration for the weekend!