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    Perfect Crème Brûlée Recipe

    Published October 16, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This simple to prepare Crème Brûlée recipe is a delicious baked custard topped off with caramelized sugar for the perfect dessert. Take it to the next level by serving it with fresh whipped cream and berries.

    We’ve got a serious sweet tooth in our house and must finish off just about every meal with a little sugary treat. If you and your family are the same, be sure to try my Berry Crisp or my Blondies Recipe.

    creme brulee with scoop taken out


     

    Crème Brûlée 

    Crème brûlée is a simple custard dessert consisting of cream, eggs, and sugar that is then baked until firm. It translates from French to English as “burnt cream.”  It’s funny because the cream isn’t really burnt. However, the sugar that goes on top of the dessert is caramelized for a slightly charred caramel taste. 

    It’s said that it was founded by Chef Francois Massialot, who served as chef to many of the Dukes in France during the late 17th and early 18th centuries.  It didn’t really become popularized until the 1980s when it began popping up on menus across the world.  Crème brûlée is also known as Trinity Cream or English Cream.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    • Vanilla – I use fresh vanilla beans from fresh vanilla pods. If this is not an option, you can substitute 1 pod for 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.
    • Cream – You must use heavy whipping cream for this crème brûlée. However, you can substitute with half and half.
    • Eggs – You can use chilled or room-temperature large egg yolks. Use the remaining egg whites to make my Angel Food Cake.
    • Sugar – Regular granulated sugar is all you need.

    How to Make Crème Brûlée 

    1. Cut the fresh vanilla beans in half longways and scrape out all of the vanilla bean seeds from the inside.  Transfer to a medium-sized saucepot.
    2. Add heavy whipping cream to the pot with the vanilla beans and cook over low heat to scald.
    3. Separate egg yolks from egg whites.  Set aside egg whites for some other use, as it will not be used in this recipe.
    4. Whisk the egg yolks with sugar in a bowl and set aside.
    5. Once the cream has scalded, pour a small amount of it into the bowl with the sugar and eggs to temper, and gently whisk it together.  Then, add the rest of the cream and gently whisk
    6. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or chinois into a large pourable container.
    7. Place the ramekins onto a sheet tray or a cake tray pan.  Pour the crème brûlée mixture evenly between the ramekins filling them to almost the top.
    8. Transfer the tray to the oven and place it on the rack.  Fill the tray with warm water until it reaches the ½ waypoint on the ramekins.
    9. Bake at 325° for 35 to 40 minutes or until they are firm in the center when you tap them.
    10. Remove from the water bath and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes before completely cooling in the refrigerator for 60-90 minutes.
    11. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the top of each crème brûlée and move the sugar around by rocking the ramekin in your hand.
    12. Using a torch, caramelize the sugar on top until it is crispy and lightly browned. Serve with whipped cream, fresh berries, and mint.
    step by step instructions on how to make creme brulee

    Crème Brûlée Torch

    A torch is definitely needed to caramelize the sugar on top of the crème brûlée.  Here are a few affordable options for you that I personally recommend having used all of them (those are aff links which allows me to make a few bones off of the sale):

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: For freshness, you can make this up to 2 days ahead of time.

    How to Store: Cover in plastic while in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. This does not freeze well as it will turn into the soup once thawed.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    chef notes + tips

    • If you tilt the pot backward or forward and see mini bubbles that form on the bottom of the pan while cooking, the cream has been scalded.
    • You only want to pour a small amount of the hot cream in at the beginning to bring the eggs up to temperature without scrambling them.
    • If you do not have a pourable container, pour it into a bowl and use a ladle to transfer the custard to the ramekins.
    • It is best to hold the ramekin in one hand and the torch in the other and move the ramekin around to move the sugar around as it caramelizes.
    • Be sure to cover the dessert in the refrigerator, or it will pick up other smells from food.
    • The most important part of any torch is finding one that is easy to refill, stands up straight when setting it down, and can adjust the flame output.

    More Amazing Dessert Recipes

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    Crème Brulee Recipe

    5 from 22 votes
    This simple to prepare Crème Brûlée recipe is a delicious baked custard topped off with caramelized sugar for the perfect dessert.
    Servings: 6
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 45 minutes
    Cooling Time: 2 hours

    Equipment

    • creme brulee dishes or ramekins

    Ingredients 

    • 2 vanilla beans
    • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
    • 12 egg yolks
    • 1 cup sugar + 6 teaspoons

    Instructions

    • Preheat the oven to 325°.
    • Cut the beans in half longways and scrape out all of the seeds using a small knife. See note. Transfer the seeds to a medium size sauce pot and pour in the heavy cream.
    • Cook the pot over low heat until scalded. See note.
    • In a large bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar until combined.
    • Next, add in a small amount of the scalded cream to the egg-sugar mixture and whisk gently until combined to temper the eggs. Pour in the remaining hot cream and gently mix until combined.
    • Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a pouring bowl or a regular bowl.
    • Place 6 crème brulee ramekins into a cookie sheet tray and evenly pour the crème brulee batter into the ramekins. See note.
    • Put the tray onto the oven rack and pour in enough warm water to fill up the tray to the ½ way mark on the crème brulee ramekins. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes or until firm in the center.
    • Remove from the water and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes.
    • Transfer to the fridge and cool completely for 60-90 minutes.
    • 1Remove from the fridge and add 1 tablespoon of sugar to each crème brulee ramekin. Using a torch in 1 hand and the ramekin in the other caramelize the sugar moving the sugar around to help spread. See note.
    • 1Serve with whipped cream, fresh berries and mint.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: For freshness, you can make this up to 2 days ahead of time.
    How to Store: Cover in plastic while in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. This does not freeze well as it will turn into the soup once thawed.
    If you tilt the pot backward or forward and see mini bubbles that form on the bottom of the pan while cooking, the cream has been scalded.
    You only want to pour a small amount of the hot cream in at the beginning to bring the eggs up to temperature without scrambling them.
    If you do not have a pourable container, pour it into a bowl and use a ladle to transfer the custard to the ramekins.
    It is best to hold the ramekin in one hand and the torch in the other and move the ramekin around to move the sugar around as it caramelizes.
    Be sure to cover the dessert in the refrigerator, or it will pick up other smells from food.
    The most important part of any torch is finding one that is easy to refill, stands up straight when setting it down, and can adjust the flame output.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 793kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 9gFat: 68gSaturated Fat: 40gCholesterol: 607mgSodium: 78mgPotassium: 158mgSugar: 34gVitamin A: 2840IUVitamin C: 0.9mgCalcium: 149mgIron: 1mg
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: French