Makes five ramekins
5 ounces milk
5 ounce whipping cream
1 vanilla bean
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Zest of 1 orange
¾ ounce Grand Marnier
1 1/2 ounce sugar
5 egg yolks
5 ounces brown sugar
1. Finely grate the orange zest and let it macerate in the Grand Marnier for an hour.
2. Bring the milk and cream to a boil. Add the vanilla bean, the Grand Marnier-macerated orange zest mixture, and the sugar and let infuse for an hour.
3. Strain to remove the vanilla bean and the orange zest. Add the egg yolks, mixing gently so that the mixture does not froth.
4. Pour into ramekins and cook in the oven following two possible methods:
At 230 F in a traditional oven (heated from both top and bottom) in a double boiler for approximately 50 minutes; or at 175 F in a convection or forced convection oven without the double boiler (more difficult) for approximately 30 minutes.
The crème brûlée is cooked when it is set in the middle and “trembles” when the ramekin is tapped.
5. Remove the crèmes brûlées from the oven and allow to cool. Place them in the refrigerator.
6. Just before serving, sprinkle with a thin layer of brown sugar and caramelize with a blow torch or under the broiler (more difficult).
If the custard cooks too quickly it will be slightly granular, not creamy as it should be. If moisture has formed on the surface of the crème brûlée when it is taken from the refrigerator, soak it up with some paper towels before sprinkling with sugar.
From Mary Ann Anderson, McClatchy-Tribune