Crème Brulee Recipe

This easy creme brulee recipe is a creamy custard with a crispy caramelized sugar topping, making for a perfect combination of textures and flavors.

Easy Crème Brulee

Despite its elegant presentation, Crème Brulee is surprisingly easy to make at home with just a handful of ingredients.


In this recipe, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process to create a perfect Crème Brulee that will leave your guests raving and asking for seconds.

The rich and creamy custard base of this creme brulee is made by combining egg yolks, sugar, and heavy cream, along with vanilla or other flavorings like coffee or chocolate.

The mixture is then baked in individual ramekins in a water bath until the custard is set but still jiggly in the center.

After cooling, a layer of granulated sugar is sprinkled on top of the custard and then torched with a kitchen torch or broiled in the oven until the sugar melts and caramelizes to form a thin, crackly crust. 

Crème Brulee for two


Ingredients for Crème Brulee

  • Egg yolks
  • Granulated sugar
  • Heavy cream
  • Vanilla extract or vanilla bean
  • Pinch of salt
  • Granulated sugar (for caramelizing)
How to make Crème Brulee


How to make Crème Brulee

To make Crème Brulee, begin by whisking together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat until it reaches a gentle simmer.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture while whisking constantly.

This will temper the eggs and create a smooth custard.

Stir in the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to enhance the flavors.

To ensure the custard is silky smooth, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup or bowl with a spout.

This will remove any lumps or air bubbles that may have formed during the mixing process.

Once strained, divide the custard mixture evenly among six ramekins placed in a baking dish or roasting pan.

Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C) and carefully pour enough hot water into the baking dish to reach about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

This is known as a water bath and helps to prevent the custard from overcooking and cracking.

Bake the custards for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges are set but the centers are still slightly jiggly.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and let the custards cool to room temperature.

Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight, until the custards are completely chilled. This will allow the custard to set and develop its rich flavor.

Just before serving, sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar evenly over the top of each custard.

Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar, moving the torch in circular motions over the sugar until it forms a golden-brown crust.

Alternatively, you can place the ramekins under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully, until the sugar has caramelized.

Let the Crème Brulee sit for a minute or two to cool and harden the sugar topping before serving.

French Crème Brulee


What to serve with Crème Brulee

Crème Brulee is a rich and decadent dessert on its own, but it can also be paired with a few different accompaniments to enhance its flavors and textures. Some options for serving with Crème Brulee include:

Fresh Berries: A simple but elegant addition, fresh berries such as raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries can add a burst of tartness and brightness to complement the rich custard.

Whipped Cream: A dollop of whipped cream on top of the Crème Brulee can add an extra layer of creamy texture and flavor.

Biscotti or Cookies: A crisp biscotti or cookie on the side can provide a satisfying crunch to contrast with the smooth custard.

Caramel Sauce: Drizzling a rich and buttery caramel sauce over the Crème Brulee can add an extra layer of sweetness and a complementary caramel flavor.

Espresso or Coffee: A shot of espresso or a cup of coffee on the side can provide a perfect balance to the richness of the Crème Brulee, while also enhancing its flavors.

Easy Crème Brulee in water bath


Occasions to serve Crème Brulee

Crème Brulee is a classic dessert that is perfect for many occasions and events. Here are some occasions where Crème Brulee would be a great choice to serve:

Dinner Parties: Crème Brulee is an elegant and impressive dessert that is perfect for entertaining guests at a dinner party or special occasion.

Holidays: The rich and indulgent flavors of Crème Brulee make it a perfect dessert choice for holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter.

Romantic Dinners: The creamy and luxurious texture of Crème Brulee makes it an ideal dessert for a romantic dinner or special date night.

Birthdays: Crème Brulee can be a great alternative to traditional birthday cake, especially for someone who prefers a dessert that is not overly sweet.

Potluck or Picnic: Individual servings of Crème Brulee in ramekins can be a perfect portable dessert for a potluck or picnic, as they can be easily transported and served.

Vanilla Crème Brulee


How to store Crème Brulee

Crème Brulee can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days, making it a great make-ahead dessert. Here’s how to properly store Crème Brulee:

Let it cool: After baking, let the Crème Brulee cool to room temperature before covering it and transferring it to the refrigerator.

Cover it: Cover the Crème Brulee tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out and absorbing any unwanted odors from the fridge.

Store it: Place the covered Crème Brulee in the refrigerator, preferably on a flat surface to avoid any spills or shifts that may occur.

Serve it: When you’re ready to serve, remove the Crème Brulee from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to take the chill off.

Sprinkle the sugar on top of the custard and caramelize it with a kitchen torch or broiler just before serving.

Crème Brulee is best served fresh, as the caramelized sugar topping can become soft and lose its crisp texture if stored for too long.

Easy Crème Brulee for two


How to reheat Crème Brulee

Reheating Crème Brulee is not recommended, as the high heat can cause the custard to curdle or the sugar topping to melt and become sticky.

However, if you have leftover Crème Brulee that you want to enjoy again, you can bring it back to room temperature and eat it cold. Here’s how to properly reheat Crème Brulee:

Take it out of the fridge: Remove the Crème Brulee from the fridge and let it come to room temperature for 10-15 minutes.

Sprinkle sugar: Once the custard has come to room temperature, sprinkle a thin layer of granulated sugar on top of the custard.

Caramelize the sugar: Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar until it forms a crispy crust on top.

If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you can use the broiler setting in your oven to broil the sugar for a few seconds until it’s melted and caramelized.

Serve it: Once the sugar has caramelized and cooled, you can serve the Crème Brulee immediately and enjoy its creamy texture and crispy caramel topping.

Note: It’s important to reheat Crème Brulee properly and to avoid reheating it multiple times, as this can cause the custard to break down and become watery.

It’s best to enjoy Crème Brulee fresh and make only as much as you plan to serve at once.

classic-creme-brulee-dessert

Crème Brulee FAQs

Can I make Crème Brulee ahead of time?

Yes, Crème Brulee can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. You can also caramelize the sugar topping just before serving.

How do I know when my Crème Brulee is cooked?

The edges of the custard should be set, but the center should still be slightly jiggly when shaken. The custard will continue to cook and set as it cools.

Can I use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar on top of Crème Brulee?

Yes, a kitchen torch is the preferred method for caramelizing the sugar topping on Crème Brulee. Alternatively, you can place the ramekins under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, but be careful not to overcook the custard.

Can I use a different flavor instead of vanilla in Crème Brulee?

Yes, you can use different flavors such as chocolate, coffee, or fruit extracts to create different variations of Crème Brulee.

Can I use low-fat cream to make Crème Brulee?

Using low-fat cream may affect the texture and flavor of the custard. It is best to use heavy cream for the richest and creamiest texture.

Can I make Crème Brulee without a water bath?

A water bath is essential for baking Crème Brulee evenly and preventing it from cracking. If you don’t have a baking dish or roasting pan, you can use a casserole dish filled with water.

Creme Brulee Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar for caramelizing

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar until well combined and light in color.
  • In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat until it comes to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat.
  • Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until well combined. Stir in the vanilla extract and pinch of salt.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup or bowl with a spout.
  • Place six ramekins in a large baking dish or roasting pan, and divide the custard mixture evenly among them.
  • Place the baking dish in the oven and carefully pour enough hot water into the dish to reach about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges of the custards are set but the centers are still slightly jiggly.
  • Remove the baking dish from the oven and let the custards cool to room temperature.
  • Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight, until the custards are completely chilled.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar evenly over the top of each custard.
  • Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar, moving the torch in circular motions over the sugar until it forms a golden-brown crust. Alternatively, you can place the ramekins under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully, until the sugar has caramelized.
  • Let the Crème Brulee sit for a minute or two to cool and harden the sugar topping before serving.

That’s it for the classic crème brulee recipe! With its creamy custard and crispy caramelized sugar topping, this dessert is sure to impress your guests with its elegance.

Whether you’re serving it for a special occasion or just indulging in a sweet treat, crème brulee is a classic dessert that is hard to resist. Try out this recipe at home and enjoy the deliciousness of this French dessert!



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