45 min

I am a lover of Crème Brûlée, my choice of dessert wherever possible and using pastry for a base makes these a little bit more interesting and versatile. They made a popular dinner party dessert but they would also be lovely served for afternoon tea. The custard is a little thicker than the usual Crème Brûlée so it can hold its shape but it is delicious baked onto the buttery pastry.

Crème Brûlée Slices

For the Pastry

150g plain flour

70g caster sugar

Pinch of salt

80g unsalted butter, cubed

2tbsp cold water

For the Crème Brûlée

1 vanilla bean

300ml milk

45g corn flour

200ml double cream

110g caster sugar

Pinch of salt

6 egg yolks

For the caramel

150g caster sugar

2 tbsp water


Line a 26 x 20cm baking form with parchment paper.

For the pastry, in a bowl mix together the flour, sugar and salt. With your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the water and work into a smooth pastry. Press the pastry into the base of the baking dish in an even layer. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and chill for 45 minutes. At the last 10 minutes of chilling preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Bake the pastry in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile make the Brûlée topping. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a small spoon. In a small jug mix 6 tbsp of the milk with the corn flour until smooth. Pour the remaining milk and the cream into a saucepan and stir in the vanilla beans, sugar and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer and, stirring continuously, pour in the corn flour mixture. Still stirring all the while, let it simmer for 2 minutes, then take off the heat and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Keep stirring every minute to prevent a skin from forming. When the mixture has cooled add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Pour the mixture over the pastry base and bake for a further 20 – 25 minutes. The mixture will still be wobbly in the middle but should have a firm top. Remove form the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

To make the caramel topping, in a saucepan, with low heat, gently heat the sugar and water together until the sugar has melted. Turn up the heat to medium and continue cooking until the sugar is a pale straw colour. Turn the caramel out onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and leave to cool and set hard. Break the caramel up into pieces and place in a grinder and grind into a powder.

Remove the cake from the baking tin, carefully peeling away the parchment paper. Cut into 12 slices and sprinkle with the powdered caramel. Using a chef’s blowtorch, melt the powdered caramel until a golden brown. This will only take a few seconds.

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