Servings: Makes about 4 servings
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream , preferably not ultrapasteurized
- 1/2 stalk fresh lavender or 3 tablespoons dried lavender intended for cooking
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar ("sugar in the raw")
In a small saucepan, bring milk and cream to a boil, monitoring it closely so it doesn't boil over. Remove from the heat. Add lavender, and allow lavender to infuse the cream for one hour at room temperature. Strain mixture into a clean saucepan. Bring to a boil again and remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 275°F. In a mixing bowl, whisk the yolks and granulated sugar until just combined. Temper the egg mixture by very slowly whisking a small amount of warm lavender cream into the eggs. Take your time with this step so that the yolks don't scramble. Once the egg mixture and cream are roughly the same temperature, whisk the remaining egg mixture into the cream.
Divide custard among four 4-ounce ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking dish or roasting pan. Fill dish or pan with water so that water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins and transfer to the oven rack. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. During the last 10 minutes, check frequently for doneness: when fully baked, the crème brûlées will be firm and will wiggle just slightly when shaken. Remove ramekins from water bath and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
Before serving, sprinkle each dessert with 1 1/2 tablespoons turbinado sugar. If you own a propane torch, hold the torch about 8 inches from the custard's surface and flame the sugar into a golden brown, brittle curst. Alternatively, place ramekins under a preheated broiler and broil until sugar has caramelized, 1 to 3 minutes. Watch carefully: sugar turns from light brown to black quickly. Serve immediately.