Créme Brûlée, or Trinity Cream, is a classic, elegant French dessert with a creamy, custard base flavored with vanilla and topped with a thin layer of caramelized sugar. It’s a popular dessert that means ‘burnt cream’ and is often served in fine-dining restaurants. But, there is no need to go out to enjoy the flavors and texture of this dessert when you can make it at home! Serve them at your New Year’s Eve party to start your year off on a sweet note! I also have a delicious Tiramisu recipe you will want to indulge in!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Heavy Whipping Cream: Also known as heavy cream, heavy whipping cream contains at least 30% fat. It is a high-fat dairy product that adds richness and creaminess to this dessert.
Vanilla: Vanilla extract is used to flavor the Créme Brûlée.
Egg Yolks: Room-temperature egg yolks are very important when making this dessert. If the eggs are too cold, they could scramble when heat is added to them. You only use the egg yolks in this recipe. But, don’t let the egg whites go to waste. Save them for other recipes like Fried Ice Cream or Almond Paste.
Sugar: Granulated sugar is used in both the custard mixture and the caramelized sugar topping. For the topping, turbinado sugar would also work.
Why Use A Water Bath?
A water bath is important when making créme brûlée. It helps to maintain a consistent temperature for even cooking and prevents cracks while baking. It is the way to go for achieving the perfect consistency in the final product.
Can I Make Créme Brûlée In Advance?
Yes, it is a convenient option to prepare this dessert ahead of time! After baking and cooling the custard in the ramekins, cover them with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store them in the refrigerator. Crème brûlée can typically be refrigerated for up to 2-3 days. When ready to serve, add the sugar to caramelize right before serving.
Can I Make Créme Brûlée Without A Kitchen Torch?
Yes, you can make créme brûlée without a kitchen torch. If you do not have a kitchen torch, you can broil the desserts in the oven to caramelize the sugar. Set the rack to the highest position in the oven, closest to the broiler. Place the desserts under the broiler, watch carefully, and remove the desserts as soon as the sugar browns.
How To Store Créme Brûlée
To store créme brûlée after caramelizing the sugar on top, let it cool completely. Then, cover the ramekin with aluminum foil. Store the dessert in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Or, if planning to serve it within a couple of days, hold off on caramelizing the sugar until ready to enjoy.
- 3 cups (714 g) heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar, divided
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add cream and vanilla. Heat until cream is starting to steam and bubbles are beginning to form on the sides of the saucepan (about 8-10 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer into a liquid measuring cup.
- In a medium bowl with a pouring spout, whisk together egg yolks and ½ cup sugar until they start to lighten in color.
- While whisking, slowly add cream to the egg yolk mixture a little at a time. Continue whisking until all cream is incorporated into egg yolk mixture.
- Place 6 shallow 6-ounce ramekins on a sheet pan with high sides. Carefully pour the cream mixture evenly between the ramekins and place the pan in the oven. Carefully add hot water to the sheet pan until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins, taking care not to get any water in the custards.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until custard is just set. The edges should be firm, but the center should still have a slight jiggle.
- Carefully remove the custards from the oven and the water bath, carefully placing each on a separate sheet pan. Let them cool to room temperature. Then, place in refrigerator to cool completely for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
- Right before serving, sprinkle each custard with 2 teaspoons sugar.
- Using a kitchen torch, hold the torch flame about 2 inches away from the sugar’s surface. Move the flame in a circular motion over the sugar. Start at the edge and gradually work your way to the center to ensure even caramelization. It should turn golden brown and start to bubble and form a thin, crispy layer. Let cool for a minute or two so the sugar can harden.
- Serve immediately.
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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:
This is one of those classic desserts that will impress your dinner guests! The custard is creamy and delicious, and it is encased in an amazing caramelized sugar crust. You will love it!
I have actually never tried creme brulee, but I really liked it! I loved the texture and taste of the creamy vanilla custard.
Creamy rich sweet custard with the crunch of the caramelized sugar on top, you can't go wrong with a classic like this!
A crunchy sugar layer on top, with a creamy custard underneath! What a lovely treat!
These feel so fancy, but aren't overly difficult to make! The custard is rich and sweet, and the sugar topping adds the perfect crunch.
Delicious. Custardy, sweet and love the crispy sugar on top!