Crème Brûlée is a classic French dessert. It consists of a rich custard base topped with a hard layer of caramelized sugar. It is also referred to as burnt cream or crème anglaise. Crème Brûlée has a short ingredient list and is the perfect finishing touch to any dinner. Crème Brûlée can be made in advance and served in individual ramekins or as a large dessert. It is traditionally flavored with vanilla and served at room temperature.
Serves: 6-8 servings
- 2 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups whipping cream or half-and-half
- ½ cup milk
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar
- Combine and mix the eggs, yolks, ⅓ cup sugar and the vanilla in a mixing bowl. Do not whisk to a light and frothy blend as the custard must not be airy and bubbly.
- Heat the cream and milk in a saucepan to just below boiling point.
- Add this to the egg mixture while stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Strain the custard through a sieve placed over a jug.
- Place the ramekins in a large ovenproof dish or pan. Divide the custard between the ramekins and add hot water to reach about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake at 325˚F for about 35 minutes until the custard is just set. Smaller and flatter ramekins will set sooner.
- Cool before covering and storing in the refrigerator until needed.
- Allow about 40 minutes at room temperature before sprinkling sugar over the custard – about a teaspoon per brûlée, depending on the surface area.
- Caramelize by placing the brûlées on a baking tray under a pre-heated grill for 1-3 minutes, until the sugar melts and starts to change color. Watch carefully as it can easily burn. Alternatively, a propane torch can be used to caramelize the sugar.
- Allow the topping to cool and harden for about 20 minutes minutes before serving.
The topping is the trickiest part as the sugar must caramelize without the custard baking further. Work with great care, whether using the grill or propane torch.
Use only regular granulated sugar.
Before preheating the grill, place the oven-rack just below the grill so that the sugar caramelizes quickly.