Updated: Sep 4
Hello, food lover! Excited about Crème Brûlée? Serve a dessert that matches top restaurants, right at home. With our guide, you'll easily make this classic burnt cream. Ready to try this French treat? Let's start cooking!
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The Timeless Tale of Crème Brûlée: A Dessert's Journey Through History
Crème Brûlée Origin:
France's Claim: The French Connection and its Culinary Legacy: Often celebrated as a quintessential French dessert, Crème Brûlée, translating to "burnt cream," finds its roots in 17th-century French cookbooks. This perfect blend of creamy custard crowned with a crisp caramelized sugar layer has long been a staple in French homes and patisseries.
England's Stake: The English Custard and its Resemblance:
England boasts its own rendition named "burnt cream" or Trinity cream. This treat, popularized at Trinity College, Cambridge, mirrors its French counterpart but typically omits the crunchy caramel topping, emphasizing the velvety custard instead.
Spain's Contribution: Catalonian Cream and its Distinct Flair:
Spain enters the creamy contest with Crema Catalana. Hailing from Catalonia, this dessert, traditionally savoured on Saint Joseph's Day, is infused with citrus zest and cinnamon, offering a distinctive flavour twist.
Evolution: How Crème Brûlée Conquered Palates Worldwide
From Simple Beginnings: The Basic Ingredients and Early Recipes
At its essence, Crème Brûlée is a harmonious blend of cream, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla. Over the years, culinary enthusiasts have played with these core ingredients, spawning a myriad of delightful variations.
Global Adaptations: How Different Cultures Put Their Spin on It
From Asia's matcha-infused versions to America's autumnal pumpkin spice Crème Brûlée, this classic has been reimagined globally, mirroring the diverse tastes and traditions of each locale.
The Modern Touch: Molecular Gastronomy and Beyond
With modern culinary innovations, Crème Brûlée has transcended its traditional ramekin confines. Contemporary chefs craft foams, spheres, and even Crème Brûlée ice creams, redefining this age-old dessert.
Preparation time: 10min
Baking time: 35-40 minutes.
Cooling time: 1h 10min
This recipe makes: 6 portions
Ingredients for Crème Brûlée
420 ml (14.8oz) of double cream
100ml (3.5oz) of milk (full fat works best)
1 tsp of vanilla bean paste
5 medium egg yolks
70g (2.45oz) of caster sugar (plus extra for topping)
Creme brulee tools list:
6x 100ml (3.5oz) Ramekins
Optional: Temperature probe
How to make Crème Brûlée
1. Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F) with the fan setting.
2. Arrange six 100ml ramekins in a deep baking dish, ensuring there is enough space to cover the dish with foil without touching the tops of the ramekins.
3. In a small saucepan, combine double cream and milk, and whisk in 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste.
4. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until well combined.
5. Place the saucepan with the cream mixture over medium heat and bring to 80°C (176°F). As soon as you see bubbles form, remove the pan from heat (but do not let it boil). Transfer the mixture to a jug to prevent further heating (You can heat up only a little bit but this will extend the cooking time)
6. Gradually pour the hot cream mixture into the beaten egg yolk mixture, stirring continuously to prevent scrambling.
7. Use a large spoon to scoop any foam from the surface of the liquid and discard. Return the mixture to a jug.
8. Fill the baking dish with enough hot tap water to reach about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully pour the mixture into the ramekins.
9. Cover the dish with foil, leaving a small gap on both sides to allow air circulation.
10. Bake the ramekins in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the mixture is set but still jiggles like jelly. Be careful not to overcook or undercook the mixture.
11. Using oven gloves, remove the ramekins from the baking dish and transfer to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes. Then, place in the refrigerator to chill completely for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
12. Before serving, sprinkle 1.5 tsp of caster sugar over each ramekin and spread evenly using the back of a spoon.
13. Using a blow torch, caramelize the sugar by holding the flame just above the sugar and moving it continuously until a caramelized layer forms.
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Tips for preparation for Best Crème Brûlée Recipe:
Caramelizing Without a Torch: If you're without a blow torch, fret not! Simply use your oven's broiler setting to achieve that golden caramelized sugar top. Place the ramekins on a baking tray and monitor them closely to prevent over-browning. It's a good practice to keep the oven door slightly ajar during this process.
Setting the Egg Yolks: The ideal temperature for setting egg yolks in Crème Brûlée is between 62-65°C (144-149°F)
Storage: You can refrigerate Crème Brûlée for up to 5 days. However, ensure it's covered with cling film to avoid absorbing any unwanted fridge odours.
Choosing Eggs: For a richer taste, opt for organic eggs. They often offer a more robust flavour compared to conventional eggs.
Flavour Infusion: Elevate your Crème Brûlée by infusing the cream with aromatic herbs like thyme or lavender. Add a few sprigs to the cream, allowing it to steep for about 30 minutes. Remove the herbs before continuing with the recipe, and you'll be rewarded with a subtly enhanced flavour profile in your dessert. Enjoy!
FAQ for Crème Brûlée:
What does Crème Brûlée taste like? Crème Brûlée boasts a rich and velvety custard base with a hint of vanilla, complemented by a contrasting top layer of crisp, caramelized sugar. Its taste is a harmonious blend of sweetness and creaminess, with the caramelized top adding a slight bitterness and crunch, making every bite a delightful play of textures and flavours.
Is Crème Brûlée gluten free? Yes, traditional Crème Brûlée is gluten-free as its main ingredients are cream, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla. However, always check recipes or labels for any added ingredients or potential cross-contamination if you need to ensure it's strictly gluten-free.
What are Crème Brûlée flavours? Crème Brûlée traditionally features a vanilla-flavoured custard base, but variations include chocolate, coffee, citrus, lavender, and even matcha, among others.
What is the best ramekin for Creme Brulee? The best ramekin for Crème Brûlée is typically a shallow, round, oven-safe ceramic or porcelain dish with a diameter of 4 to 5 inches, allowing for even cooking and the perfect caramelized sugar-to-custard ratio.
How to tell when creme brulee is done? You can tell Crème Brûlée is done when the edges are set, but the centre still has a slight jiggle to it when gently shaken; it should not be liquidly but should resemble a soft-set custard. Overbaking can lead to a curdled texture, so it's essential to monitor closely during the final minutes of baking.
Crème Brûlée vs flan? Crème Brûlée is a French dessert with a creamy custard base and a hard caramelized sugar top, while flan, often referred to as caramel custard, is a smooth custard with a soft caramel topping, popular in many countries including Spain and Mexico.
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