Bay Leaf Créme Brulee

Makes 6 ramekins

One of the most traditional of the French desserts a rich custard with a glass like burnt sugar topping!


2 cups of whole milk
2 cups of heavy cream
12 fresh bay leaves
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out (seeds reserved)
3 large eggs
5 large egg yolks
¾ cup of sugar
Pinch of salt
Bay leaf sugar (1 cup sugar and 4-6 bay leaves in a jar for 1 week-shaking each day)


Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large saucepan combine the milk, cream, bay leaves (crack before putting in pan to release oils), vanilla bean pod and seeds and bring to a boil. Take off heat and let steep for about 20 minutes. In the meantime beat the eggs, egg yolk and ¾ cup sugar and the pinch of salt. Remove the vanilla pod and bay leaves and whisk the cream mixture into the egg yolk until thick custard is formed. Divide the custard into 6 lightly greased ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking dish with sides and place about 1-2 inches water in the dish. Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes. Remove from the water bath and place in the refrigerator to set up for at least 3 hours. For serving place a tablespoon of bay leaf sugar over the top and with a kitchen blow torch heat the sugar until it caramelizes. Allow brulée to set for a few minutes while the caramelized sugar hardens.