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  • 1 lemon, zest of, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler or a paring knife
  • 2 tea bags, your choice,though jasmine tea is nice
  • 12 vanilla beans or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 14 cup sugar, plus more for caramelizing


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Boil lemon zest in 1/2 cup of water for 30 seconds to help remove bitterness.
  • Strain, rinse under cold water, then finely chop the zest.
  • Evenly distribute the chopped zest in 6 1/2 cup ramekins.
  • Place milk and tea bags in a saucepan.
  • If using vanilla bean, place it in the liquid now.
  • Bring milk to the boil.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Place the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and blend together on low speed or with a wire whisk.
  • Pour the boiled milk through a sieve in a slow and steady stream into the egg mixture.
  • Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod into the milk and egg mixture, then discard the pod.
  • If using vanilla extract, add it now.
  • Divide the mixture among the prepared ramekins, over the chopped zest.
  • Place ramekins in a baking dish and fill it halfway up the ramekin height with hot water.
  • Carefully place baking dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the custards are set on the outside but slightly jiggly in the center.
  • Remove the ramekins from the water bath, cool to room temperature then place them in the refrigerator to set for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the broiler about 15 minutes before you are ready to serve the Creme Brulee.
  • Lightly sprinkle the tops of the chilled custards with a thin layer of sugar and place the ramekins under the broiler until the sugar bubbles and browns.
  • Cool for 1 minute on the counter, then serve.