For a classic recipe to end your dinner party on, you just can't go wrong with creme brulee.
- 250ml double cream
- 75ml full-fat milk
- 1 vanilla pod, scraped
- 4 medium egg yolks
- 50g caster sugar, plus 3 to 4tbsp for the topping
- 2tsp vanilla essence
- for the puff pasty sticks
- 100g puff pastry
- little beaten egg
- 2tbsp blanched almonds, finely chopped
- icing sugar, sifted
Heat the oven to 140C, 120C fan oven, 275F, gas 1.
Put the cream, milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and heat to boiling point. Cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks and 50g (2oz) sugar together until pale and thick, add the vanilla essence and pour the boiling cream on to the mixture; stir well, then pour into four ramekins.
Cook in a water bath in the oven until just set (about 20 minutes). Leave to cool.
Sprinkle with a thin layer of sugar and caramelise with a blow torch or under a very hot grill. Repeat several times until you have the desired degree of golden brown topping. Leave to cool; serve within 2 hours.
To make the puff pastry sticks (sacristains), heat the oven to 190 C, 170 C fan oven, 375 F, gas 5.
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thickness, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with finely chopped almonds.
Using a long, sharp knife, cut strips of pastry 12mm (½in) wide and 10cm (4in) long. Twist five times and place on a baking sheet. Cook until golden and crisp, dust with icing sugar and serve warm with the crème brulée.