Piquant ginger adds a slightly spicy tickle to the palate in this sophisticated twist on the classic crème brulee.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, vanilla bean, crystallized ginger, fresh ginger, and salt. Warm over medium heat until the surface begins to shimmer, about 5 minutes, cover, reduce the heat to low and barely simmer 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain into a clean bowl.
- Whisk together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar until well blended. Slowly pour the warm cream into the egg mixture, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Pour the mixture into a large measuring cup.
- Place (4) 7-ounce ramekins in a bain-marie.* Carefully pour the milk mixture into the ramekins. Pour enough water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place the bain-marie in the oven and bake until almost set in the center (it may still wobble a little in the center but will firm up as it chills) about 26-27 minutes minutes. Remove ramekins from the bain-marie and cool 20 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
- Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the remaining sugar evenly over each custard. Working one at a time, move torch in a circular motion about 2-inches above the surface until the sugar melts and browns, about 1-2 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 hours.
* Bain-marie simply means water-bath. Use any baking dish, oven-proof pan or casserole that will comfortably hold the ramekins and water.