When crème brûlée gets together with your favourite soothing spices, wonderful things happen. The result? A simply elegant dessert.
Preheat oven to 325°F (175°C). Set four 6 oz (175 mL) ramekins (about 2 inches/ 5 cm high) into a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 23 cm) baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and ¼ cup (60 mL) of sugar until lemon-coloured and thick; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring milk, cream, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and nutmeg to a gentle simmer. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; reduce heat as necessary to maintain simmer. Remove from heat. In slow steady stream, whisk into egg mixture. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture into large measuring cup and divide among ramekins.
Pour enough warm water into baking pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake in centre of oven for 30 to 35 minutes until edges are set but centres still jiggle. Remove from water; let cool on rack. Cover and refrigerate until chilled about 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Before serving, place chilled ramekins on rimmed baking sheet. Gently blot any liquid formed on the surface of the custards with paper towel. Sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp (30 mL) of sugar evenly over custards. Broil 6 inches (15 cm) from heat for 2 to 4 minutes until sugar bubbles and caramelizes, removing each when ready. Chill uncovered for 30 minutes before serving.
Tip: If you have a kitchen blowtorch, caramelize the sugar using the torch.