This is an incredibly easy and inexpensive desert to make. It has a French name and because of that sounds hard/fancy/expensive. Its not. I truly believe that French cooking gets its prestige from the French language (it sounds "french") as much as from the recipe.
There are two ways to make this. You can melt dark chocolate in a double boiler and stir it into the cream, or you can take the chunks of chocolate and place them in the dish before baking.
8 egg yolks
3 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup Irish Cream (you can use Baileys but the cheaper brands are just as good)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 300.
Separate egg yolks and beat them. Add vanilla to egg yolks, set aside.
Simmer cream sugar and Irish cream until the mixture is bubbly around the edges. Stir the entire time. Do not let it boil or burn. This takes between 3 to 5 min.
Pour cream mixture into eggs, slowly. Incorporate cream and eggs with a whip by hand, do not make scrambled eggs. The method is similar to making a traditional hollandaise by hand. The mixture should be smooth and creamy looking and slightly yellow or orange from the yolks. Do not over beat it or introduce air bubbles. Pour the cream mixture into ramekin dishes and place them into a bath and bake at 300 degrees for 40 to 45 min. You are looking for the custard to set and not be liquidy looking but slightly firm. At my elevation it takes about 50 min, so set a timer and check it at 40 min.
Chill in fridge until cold. Cover the top with a thin coating of sugar and caramelize with a blow torch, just prior to serving.
Creme Brulee is very versatile. You can experiment with tons of flavors. Here are the basic rules:
1. For every cup of liquid (cream) you need 2 egg yolks. ie 4 cups of cream = 8 eggs.
2. When you use a liqueur it can be up to 25% of the cream mixture, although I try to stick to less than that. See the above recipe, 1/2 a cup was plenty Irish cream. You're trying to create flavor not a DUI. If you use a strong liqueur like a kirsch/rum/bourbon/whiskey/brandy you need to cut the booze way back to maybe a shot.
3. Fruit is the most popular way to flavor a creme brulee. Follow the same 25% rule. The generally puree of fruit can be 25% of the cream mixture.
4. When making some forms of creme brulee, you simply "brew" the flavoring agent in the cream while it cooks. Vanilla beens in the pod are an example. Orange and lemon peel is another. I've seen it done with herbs as well.
5. If you need to make a larger batch, just keep the sugar proportional.
Experiment and have fun. If you think something might work as a recipe google it. I just did and it took me less than 5 min to find over 100 different flavors and their recipes. I'm serious about that caveat on not over doing the booze. I once made a cherry kirsch cheesecake that had a nice "burn" going down. I think we served that when we had one of the elders and his wife over for dinner. Avoid embarrassment and wrecking food, take it easy on the application of liqueur, it doesn't always come out when you cook it.
Some creme burlee you might want to try:
Rum Raisin (rehydrate the raisins in rum and pat dry)
Anise (see rule #4)
Ginger (Surprisingly popular, use crystallized ginger)
Those are just a few of the ones I've done this last year. Knock yourself out.