Classic Creme Brulee is one of the all-time favorite indulgences of many dessert lovers. I don’t know about you, but if I go out to dinner and it is on the dessert menu, I have no choice but to order it. This classic dessert is a study in delicious contrasts. The custard is rich, creamy, and cool, while the layer of caramelized sugar on top is sweet, crunchy, and warm. It serves as the perfect balance!
Many people think that Creme Brulee is a restaurant-only delight, and that it is too complicated to make at home. But really, it couldn’t be simpler! And today, we’re thrilled to show you that you can now have this restaurant style dessert at home, whenever you want!
Classic Creme Brulle
Makes about 12 1/2-cup servings
- 12 egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for topping
- 4 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 cups heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Set 12 4-oz ramekins in a large roasting pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, 1 cup sugar, vanilla, and salt until just combined. Set aside.
- Pour cream into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and heat over medium-low until it just begins to bubble. Slowly whisk the hot cream into the egg mixture. Pour slowly and whisk constantly to avoid cooking the egg yolks. Whisk until smooth and well-combined.
- Pour custard mixture through a fine-mesh sieve back into the pot you heated the cream in. This step is essential, so don’t skip it! No matter how careful you are when combining the hot cream and egg mixture, you can’t avoid cooking a few bits of egg here and there. Pouring the custard through a sieve will strain out these rubbery little bits of egg and give you a silky-smooth Creme Brulee.
- Divide the mixture among the ramekins in the roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to reach half-way up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake custards for 35 to 45 minutes, until the custards only jiggle slightly in the middle when shaken.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven, and use tongs and a hot pad or folded kitchen towel to gently lift the ramekins out of the hot water bath and transfer them to a cooling rack. Allow them to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until cold and ready to serve.
- To make the caramelized sugar layer, spread 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar evenly over the top of each Creme Brulee. Using a kitchen torch, carefully caramelize the sugar. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
TIP: A kitchen torch is the very best way to caramelize the sugar layer on top of Creme Brulee. It produces a thin, perfectly crisp sugar layer that has beautiful color variation. But, if you don’t have a kitchen torch, there are a couple of other not-as-perfect options:
- Instead of putting the sugar on top of the custard and then caramelizing it, you can put the sugar in a skillet or shallow saucepan over medium-high heat. As soon as the sugar starts to melt, gently shake the pan to stir the sugar. When the sugar is the color of honey, turn off the heat, shake the pan until all of the sugar is melted, and drizzle the caramelized sugar over the the Creme Brulee. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- After sprinkling sugar on top of the custards, place all ramekins on a baking sheet and put them on the very highest rack in the oven. Turn on the broiler and allow the sugar to melt and caramelize. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Do you love Creme Brulee as much as we do, or do you have a different favorite restaurant dessert?