Tuxedo Crème Brûlée is a chocolatey twist on a traditional creme brulee recipe. This dessert has a chocolate ganache bottom, creamy custard filling, and a caramelized sugar topping
Coarsely chop the chocolate. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the cream and bring to a just before a boil (don't boil). Reduce the heat to the lowest temperature. Add the chocolate and salt and whisk to combine until the chocolate has melted and the mixture becomes smooth and shiny. Remove from heat.
Divide the chocolate ganache evenly among all 6 ramekins so they are filled a little less than ¼th of the way full. Place the ramekins in the freezer and freeze for one hour.
Start by splitting the vanilla bean down the center. Scrape out all the seeds and place into a large bowl. Take the vanilla bean pod and place in a small pot with the sea salt and heavy cream.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Cook the heavy cream mixture just until the cream is simmering. Do not boil! Remove from the stovetop and set aside to slightly cool. Remove the vanilla bean pod (IF using vanilla extract, stir it in here).
In the bowl with the vanilla bean seeds, add the egg yolks (I like to save the whites in a tupperware container for omelettes during the week!) and 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until the mixture is light, about 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, place 6 cups of water in a large pot and heat to boiling point.
Add about 1/4th of the cream mixture into the egg + sugar mixture. Mix until combined. Then pour the (now tempered) egg + sugar mixture into the remaining heavy cream mixture. Stir until combined.
Remove the chocolate filled ramekins from the freezer and place in a metal 9 x 13 baking pan. Pour the prepared mixture evenly into the ramekins (you should use up all the mixture between the 6 dishes).
Fill up the metal baking pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until centers are barely set (very slight jiggle). Cool completely at room temperature and then refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving (Alternatively these can be refrigerated 4-5 days before using).
When ready to serve, separate the remaining 1/4 cup superfine sugar on top of the custards. I find it helpful to use a little more sugar than needed to swirl the dish around and make sure the top is evenly coated with sugar (then just pour extra sugar onto the next ramekin). Use a kitchen torch to torch the tops until the sugar melts and browns (or even slightly blackens) a bit. Top with fresh berries and enjoy immediately ?
Alternatively if you want to use your oven: move your oven rack to the top position and heat the oven to a high broil. Once the oven is heated, add the custards topped with superfine sugar to a tray. Place the tray on that top shelf and watch carefully as they broil. It only takes 1-3 minutes so watch closely to avoid burned crème brûlées.