Creme brulee is baked in a bath of water to make sure the custard cooks evenly, so it’s fitting for it to have an underwater-themed decoration. The creamy dessert is surprisingly easy to make and has that caramelised sugar layer on top that is so satisfying to crack into. The decoration is an optional extra, but makes these a fun treat to serve to friends and family.
For the creme brulee
3 medium egg yolks
25g sugar (adjust this to taste) plus 4-8tsp extra to sprinkle on top to caramelise (you can use granulated, caster or demerara sugar)
500g double cream
100g whole milk (replace with double cream for a richer custard)
1tbsp vanilla bean paste or two vanilla pods
For the sugar shards
50g liquid glucose
Gel food dyes
For the fondant decoration
Edible sprinkle eyes (or white and black fondant)
Crushed biscuit (eg digestive)
You will need four 12cm diameter ovenproof ramekins.
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas mark 4. Place the ramekins into a baking tray with high sides.
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until combined. Add the double cream, milk and vanilla to a pan, then stir occasionally over a medium heat until just starting to bubble. Gradually pour this over the egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly as you pour.
Ladle the mixture evenly between the four ramekins. You can use a spoon to scoop off the bubbles for a smoother appearance after baking, although this isn’t necessary. Fill the baking tray with warm water, until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins (don’t get water inside).
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the creme brulee has a slight wobble in the centre.
Carefully take the ramekins out from the hot water using an oven glove, or wait for the water to cool a little before removing. Place in the fridge to chill – six hours to overnight is ideal, but you can get away with less.
Meanwhile, make the sugar shards. Reduce the oven temperature to 170C (150C fan)/325F/gas mark 3. Squeeze liquid glucose shapes on to baking paper and spread out using a spoon. Place small blobs of food dye on to the shapes (a little goes a long way). No need to spread the food dye; it will do that itself in the oven. Bake for one hour without opening the oven door, then take out and leave for a few moments to set, before peeling off the baking paper.
Next, make the crabs or other sea creatures using the red fondant and edible sprinkle eyes.
When ready to serve, remove the creme brulee from the fridge, sprinkle over a layer of sugar (one to two teaspoons each), then use a blowtorch to caramelise the top (or place them under the grill, but keep a careful eye). Arrange all the decorations on top immediately (adding a sprinkle of crushed biscuits if you like), then serve straight away.