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Perfect Crme Brle

This dessert from "The Best Recipe" was tested 38 times. It is incredibly simple to prepare. Since the cream is not heated, you can get it into the oven in five minutes.

I tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

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6 large egg yolks, chilled

6 tablespoons white sugar

1-1/2 cups whipping cream, chilled

4 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 275 degrees F. Butter six 1/2-cup ramekins or six 2/3-cup custard cups and set them in a glass baking pan.

Whisk yolks in medium bowl until slightly thickened. Add white sugar and whisk until dissolved. Whisk in cream, then pour mixture into prepared ramekins.

Set baking pan on oven rack and pour warm water into pan to come halfway up the ramekins. Bake uncovered until custards are just barely set, about 45 minutes.

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Remove baking pan from oven, leaving ramekins in the hot water; cool to room temperature. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. (Can be refrigerated overnight.)

While custards are cooling, spread brown sugar in a small baking pan; set in turned-off (but still warm) oven until sugar dries, about 20 minutes. Transfer sugar to a small zipper-lock freezer bag; seal bag and crush sugar fine with a rolling pin. Store sugar in an airtight container until ready to top custards.

Adjust oven rack to the next-to-the-highest position and heat broiler. Remove chilled ramekins from refrigerator, uncover, and evenly spread each with 2 teaspoons dried sugar. Set ramekins in a baking pan. Broil, watching constantly and rotating pan for even caramelization, until toppings are brittle, 2 to 3 minutes, depending on heat intensity.

Refrigerate crme brles to rechill custard, about 30 minutes. Brown sugar topping will start to deteriorate in about I hour. Serves 6.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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