Making crème brûlée is very easy. It starts with simple custard-filled ramekins baked in a water bath. You can make it ahead for your next party, then add the sweet crackly vanilla sugar top right before serving. You don’t need a kitchen torch to brûlée the top. However, we must admit, we love our kitchen torch. You can use the broiler setting in your oven; be sure to watch carefully, so your sugar doesn’t burn. You can make your vanilla sugar by adding a whole vanilla bean to 2 cups of white sugar. Store in a jar for three days, shaking daily. The longer you store the bean in the jar, the stronger the vanilla flavor.

1 ¼ cups heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
2 ounces chopped dark chocolate
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
1 ½ tablespoons Rivulet Pecan Liquor
Extra vanilla sugar for the topping

Preheat the oven to 325F. Place six ramekins or Crème Brûlée Dishes on a baking sheet. Heat an electric or stovetop kettle full of water to hot.

Add the cream and milk to a large saucepan, bring to just to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate; stir to melt completely.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, vanilla sugar, and Rivulet Pecan Liquor together until well blended. While you continue to whisk, slowly drizzle in about ½ cup of the hot chocolate milk and cream mixture; whisk until well combined. Continuing to whisk, slowly pour in the remainder of the chocolate milk and cream mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined.

Pour the mixture evenly into the 6 ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Carefully pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the crème brûlée is just set, but still a little movement in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely.

Tightly cover each baked custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, overnight is preferred and for up to two days. Note: Chill the custards thoroughly for the sugar to be successfully caramelized.

Sprinkle the top of each custard evenly with 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar. Brown the caramel using a kitchen torch or the broiler in the oven. If broiling, watch carefully, so the topping doesn’t burn. Serve immediately.