What is creme brulee? It is a creamy, pudding-like, baked custard with melted sugar on top that cracks when you gently tap it with the edge of your spoon, and it makes the most enjoyable sound in the world.
The original French custard is made with heavy cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and sugar for the crust. The melted sugar on top of the cream should be slightly warm or room temperature when served, but the custard below should be cold, then you’ll get a little crunchy topping and custard in each bite. Doesn’t this dessert make you feel fancy? We should be wearing pearls and eating our creme brulee with crystal spoons while sitting on our gold thrones.
Many beginner bakers are shocked at how easy this dessert is, and the great news is that you don’t need to go to a fancy restaurant for the best creme brulee experience. To make this custard dessert, you only need 6 ingredients, and if you follow this flecked with espresso and flavored with pure vanilla recipe step by step, you’ll be gifted with the smoothest, creamiest dessert ever.
This lovely French dessert is the perfect make ahead dessert. You can prepare the custard days in advance, store it in the fridge, and torch it just before serving. It is served in ramekins which is a small, glazed glass or ceramic bowl used for cooking individual dishes.
Follow our professional tips for mastering this classic desert.
Start by heating the heavy cream and vanilla extract over the stove until the cream is simmering, but not boiling. Remove from the stove and set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk room-temperature egg yolks and half of the sugar until well mixed. Pour in the hot cream gradually, mixing continually. Beat until the mixture is light, about 2-3 minutes until paler in color and a bit fluffy.
Meanwhile, place 6 cups of water in a large pot and heat to boiling and place six ramekins into the pan (the water should come roughly halfway up the sides of the ramekins)
Heat the oven to 160° C (325˚F). Pour the egg mixture evenly into the ramekins. Using a big spoon, scoop off all the pale foam that is sitting on the top of the liquid (this will be several spoonfuls) and discard.
Stir the mixture and bake for 30-35 minutes until the centers are barely set (very slight jiggle). Lift the ramekins out of the pan with oven gloves and set them on a wire rack to cool for only a couple of minutes, then put them in the fridge to cool completely for 3-4 hours before serving. This can be done overnight without affecting the texture. (These can be refrigerated for 4-5 days before using)
When ready to serve, wipe around the top edge of the dishes, add the remaining 1/4 cup superfine sugar on top of the custards. Make sure the top is evenly coated with sugar – then just pour the extra sugar onto the next ramekin, spread it out with the back of a spoon to completely cover. Spray with a little water using a fine spray (the sort you buy in a craft shop) to just dampen the sugar and use a kitchen torch to torch the tops until the sugar melts and browns (or even slightly blackens). Top with fresh berries and enjoy immediately. Bon Appetite.
To get the eggs quickly to room temperature, you can soak the eggs in some warm water for 3-5 minutes.
You can easily use your oven to melt the sugar on the top. To do this, move your oven rack to the top position and heat the oven to a high broil. It only takes 1-3 minutes.
If you haven’t got a broiler or a blowtorch, hold the back of a spoon to a flame, for about a minute, and then gently press onto the sugar. It’ll sizzle and smoke a little that just means it’s doing its job!
Instead of heavy cream, you can use the same amount of heavy whipping cream.
Kosher salt is recommended for this recipe as it has a great flavor with the cream. If table salt is all you have, reduce it to 1/8 teaspoon. Table salt can sometimes give the delicate crème brûlée a harsh or metallic flavor.