Rice Pudding Brûlée

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 3.47.32 PMCrème brûlée can feel intimidating: what if the pudding curdles, or doesn't bake quickly enough? How do you use a blowtorch? This version—combining comforting rice pudding with the burned sugar topping of crème brûlée—takes out a lot of the guesswork, and you can use the broiler or a blowtorch to caramelize the sugar. Just be sure to watch it closely to make sure it doesn't burn too much! (And psst: using a blowtorch is really fun.) Find the video and full recipe on Sunset.

Crème Brûlée

I seem to be on a bit of a Barefoot Contessa spree, but really, this is the only crème brûlée recipe my family uses. While it actually isn't terribly difficult, it does take a bit of practice and due to the amount of heavy cream it probably isn't something you want to make on a daily basis. It is, however, an excellent dessert to make if you really want to make someone feel special (without going to all of the effort of making a three-layer cake). Crème brûlée has maintained its position as the epidemy of French dessert for all of these years for a reason -- it is classic, silky, and an utterly perfect contrast in texture and taste. Since the recipe is copyrighted, you can find it here. My only notes are these: use a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract for stronger flavor. Additionally, if you don't have a gas torch (as I do not, although that may need to be my next kitchen investment), you can just as easily caramelize the sugar under the broiler on high. Just be sure to keep an eye on it, as it burns easily.