Preparation / Directions:
Combine egg yolks and sugar in bowl, and set the bowl in a pan of warm water over low heat. Heat and whisk the mixture to a thick ribbon. Scald cream, zest and vanilla bean; slowly whisk into yolks. Continue cooking in the hot-water bath for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Keep water just below simmering.) Cook until spoon is heavily coated. Strain and cool. Must be cooled overnight before using. Bake tart shells using Toasted Hazelnut Short Dough Crust (recipe below) until golden. Spoon in brulee cream, sprinkle with sugar and caramelize. (Restaurants generally use a hand-held propane torch to caramelize. Short of that, sprinkle tarts with a small amount of sugar and broil slightly to brown; sprinkle with a little more sugar and broil again for a nice, browned surface.)
Toasted Hazelnut Short Dough Crust Cream butter. Add sugar, salt and vanilla. Cream. Add nuts. Mix well. Add flour and cornstarch. Mix until combined. Knead lightly. Chill. Roll out on floured surface and cut into rounds. Lightly grease the back of a muffin tin. Drape with dough circle. Press down well and prick dough with a fork. Bake until golden. Remove shells from the tin while still warm. Fill with tart brulee cream.