This creme brûlée frozen custard has swirls of toasty burnt sugar bits and a creamy mouthfeel just like the original dessert!
For the custard:
2 cups (480 gm) heavy whipping cream
1 cup (240 gm) whole milk
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
For the burnt sugar crunch:
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup (200 gm) sugar
¼ cup (60 gm) water
½ teaspoon baking soda
To prepare the custard:
Combine the cream and whole milk in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, vigorously whisk or mix with a hand mixer on medium speed the eggs, yolks, and sugar until the mixture has started to turn pale and thicken slightly. Don’t whip to the point that it becomes bubbly or frothy.
When the milk is done simmering, slowly pour one cup of the mixture into the egg, whisking vigorously the whole time. Don’t dump it in all at once or you’ll risk scrambling your eggs! Once the milk has been incorporated, carefully pour the mixture back into the saucepan and stir to combine. Gently cook over low heat until the mixture has thickened slightly enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 2 minutes) and then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture through a sieve to remove any clumps that may have formed and then place the entirety of the mixture into a large plastic bag. Fill the sink or a large bowl with icy water and place the plastic bag directly into it to chill the mixture quickly. While you wait for it to chill, you can begin making your burnt sugar crunch.
To prepare the burnt sugar crunch:
Liberally butter a half sheet pan with rimmed sides that is lined with a full sheet of foil.
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan combine the sugar and water over medium heat, stirring together occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture gets hot enough it will begin to bubble. Increase the heat to medium-high and avoid stirring it any more. You can gently swirl the pan occasionally to keep the mixture from burning in one spot. Continue cooking over heat until the mixture turns amber colored, about 10 minutes. It may barely begin to smoke. Remove the pot from heat and carefully whisk in the baking soda quickly. Dump the mixture out onto the pan and barely spread it out with a spatula. Don’t overwork it though as this will deflate all the bubbles. Allow the mixture to cool completely prior to breaking and using in the custard. You’ll want to make the crunch within a day of processing the yogurt and keep it in a sealed bag as the crunch will absorb moisture from the air and get chewy/sticky over time.
To finish the custard:
Pour the chilled custard in a prepared ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It takes about 15-20 minutes in my machine. In the last 5 minutes of processing, crush about 2/3 of the burnt sugar crunch into small, sandy pieces and pour into the custard. Make sure it is well incorporated. I like a majority of my crunch to be fine and sandy with a few 1/8-1/4” pieces throughout. Once the custard is finished, place in a freezer-safe container and freeze until frozen! Enjoy!