Creme Brûlée

I must admit that I am not a massive fan of creme brûlée. It’s one of those things whose texture I’m not big on and (to be frank) I’m not all that big on the taste either, too much like custard. What I have never understood though, is why people think it’s so hard to make. Creme brûlée is exactly that: burnt cream. All it is is custard that gets set in a hot water bath and then finished with a caramelized top. If you aren’t one of the lucky few who are armed with a blowtorch, the caramelized part is incredibly difficult, but you could definitely get the mixture right. It’s also really easy to switch up the flavour: just infuse your milk with whatever flavour you want to add, and then strain out the bits before you add the eggs.The best part of creme brûlée is the simple fact that everyone thinks it’s really difficult when it’s really not. If at the end of a meal you bring out a few ramekins of the stuff everyone will ohh and ahh and think you’re a wonderful cook which just feels great! So while I still think creme brûlée is easy, let’s keep that on the low down and keep on collecting the brownie points :)

This recipe is adapted from The Silver Pallet Cookbook which was a staple in my house growing up. It was one of the first (and I admit, still only) cookbooks I have owned and I always turn to it for home versions of classics that I can play with to simplify even more. I’ve tweaked this one to make it thicken up a bit faster which (I think) makes the recipe even easier to make.

  • 2 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • more sugar (for caramelizing the top)
  1. Preheat your oven to 300F (150C).
  2. Measure out the cream, milk, and sugar into a saucepan.
  3. Heat over medium heat until the cream is just about to boil.
  4. Whisk together the eggs and egg yolks.
  5. Slowly whisk the cream into the egg mixture. This is the key part: you don’t want to cook the eggs. To play it safe, you can always let the cream sit for a bit and cool a tad before you do this step.
  6. Return the mixture to the saucepan and put it back over medium heat.
  7. Heat the mixture stirring constantly until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. The first time I did this making custard, I was SO afraid of cooking the eggs I stood by the stove for an hour. You don’t need to wait that long, go ahead an turn up the element.
  8. Fill up your kettle and turn it on to boil. Trust me, and do this!
  9. When it’s coating the back of a spoon, pour the mixture evenly into ramekins or a big glass tray or (if your me) glasses. At this point, you should pick a big, deep tray to bake the ramekins/glasses/tray in as a water bath. Take note of the height of the sides since you don’t want to fill your ramekins/glasses/tray beyond that line because the sections of creme brûlée that get baked outside of the water bath have a different texture.
  10. Place the filled ramekins/glasses/tray in the larger water bath tray and place in the oven.
  11. Hopefully by this point your kettle is full of hot water. Pour the hot water into the water tray that is already in the oven. It’s really hard to put a full tray of water dotted with creme brûlées into an oven without spilling. I much prefer the pouring-water-into-the-stationary-tray-in-the-oven method.
  12. Leave in the oven for 35-45 mins until the creme brûlées have set.
  13. When done, remove the brûlées from the water bath and allow to cool.
  14. Once they have reached room temperature, cover and put in the fridge until you are ready to caramelize the top.
  15. To caramelize the top: see the video I’ve uploaded below (I learned how to do this while working at a bakery). I’ve also written some step by step instructions to help everything make sense.
    1. Put a heaping teaspoon of sugar into the centre of your ramekin and use the bottom of the spoon to spread it out a bit.
    2. Now hold the dish in your left hand on a slight slant using your fingers so you can shuffle the dish in a circle.
    3. Take the blow torch in your right hand and light it.
    4. Point the blow torch at the centre of the ramekin and start shuffling the ramekin in a circle using your fingers. The sugar in the centre will start to melt and, as you shuffle, will drip over to the sides melting the sugar in it’s bath. BE CAREFUL and shuffle quickly as melted sugar is extremely hot and will give you horrible burns. If the sugar is getting ahead of you, just set the brûlée down and take a break. A slightly under-brûléed brûlée is better than a burnt hand!
  16. Grab yourself a spoon and enjoy :)
This entry was posted in Desserts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>