Creme Brulee can be made up to 3 days ahead. When adding the hot cream to the eggs, it is important to add slowly. This way, the mixture will heat up, but not scramble. If some of the egg solidifies, don’t worry. Before baking, we strain the egg and cream mixture. To make the caramelized top, you will need a culinary torch — here’s a great option.
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for serving
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
4 large egg yolks
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 cups hot water for water bath
Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Add cream, half of the sugar (1/4 cup) and the salt to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring gently. Remove from the heat.
Place the chopped chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl, but reserve 1 tablespoon to add at the end. Place the bowl into the microwave for 20 seconds. Stir, then put it back into the microwave for another 20 seconds and stir again. Continue to heat then stir until the chocolate is just melted, now add the reserved chocolate from earlier and stir until it is completely smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining sugar (1/4 cup) until well blended.
While whisking, slowly stream approximately half of the hot cream into the eggs. Then switch from whisking the eggs to whisking the liquid in the saucepan and slowly pour the tempered eggs with half of the cream back into the saucepan.
Now, while whisking, slowly pour the custard into the melted chocolate. Whisk in vanilla, and then strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
Place ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Ladle the chocolate custard into 6 individual ramekins (5 to 6 ounce), so that they are approximately 3/4 full.
Pour enough hot water into the pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of each ramekin, bake until just set in the middle, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and wipe dry, refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
Remove the ramekins from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to serving. Just before serving, evenly sprinkle the surface with a thin layer of sugar. Using a culinary torch, melt and caramelize the sugar. Allow the creme brulee to sit at least 5 minutes before serving or until the top becomes hard.