Dessert | February 8, 2019

Vanilla Créme Brûlée

Cool, silky cream, scented with vanilla and sweetened with a touch of sugar, paired with a thin layer of hot brittle burned sugar. Every bite is hot and cold, smooth and crunchy, and sweet and bitter. Fortunately, this Vanilla Creme Brûlée is simple to make and will impress almost any guest.
Vanilla Creme Brûlée is aqua cocottes on a wire cooling rack, garnished with berries.

What Is Creme Brûlée?

Creme Brûlée is a custard dessert – sometimes called burnt cream. The dessert has a cool, subtly sweet vanilla custard base, with a warm layer of hardened caramelized sugar.  The word “brûlée” is French and means “burnt” – which is honestly the best part of this dessert.  That burnt sugar on the top is divine!

What Do I Need To Make Creme Brûlée?

You’re going to be shocked at the minimal ingredients in this recipe.  To make creme brulee that will knock your socks off, you’ll need:
  • heavy cream
  • egg yolks
  • sugar
  • vanilla (bean or extract)
Vanilla Creme Brûlée ingredients.

How Do I Make Vanilla Creme Brûlée?

  1. First start off by scraping your vanilla bean.  If you are using vanilla extract, skip this part.
  2. Now combine your cream and the vanilla bean pulp, throw in the bare bean for extra flavor – just don’t forget to remove it when you’re done.  Heat to a boil, remove from heat, and cover.
  3. Separate your egg yolks from your egg whites.  You can do this by cracking the egg and transferring the yolk back and forth between the two shell halves over a bowl, until the white has fallen into the reserved bowl and the yolk is remaining.  Place yolk in another bowl and discard the shell.
  4. Now combine your egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl.  
  5. Whip them with your stand mixer until the color turns pale.
  6. Now start adding your hot cream into the egg mixture, little by little so you don’t cook the eggs.  Continue to whisk with your stand mixer.  
  7. Once you have added all the cream you can skim the foam off the top.  
  8. Now pour that delicious mixture into your ramekins.
  9. Pour some hot water into your pan so that if come about half way up your ramekins.  Bake at 325 for 40 to 45 minutes until firm, but still a bit jiggly.  Let cool slightly on the counter and then transfer to the fridge.  Refrigerate for 2+ hours.
  10. After they have chilled in the fridge sprinkle them with sugar.

Vanilla Creme Brûlée process

Caramelizing the Topping

Now get out your weapon.  This torch sure makes it easy to make this dessert.  Using a culinary torch in a smooth circular motion will create the perfect caramelized crust on your custard.  You can also set your oven to broil, and place custards on the rack closest to the heat for about 5 minutes.  Either way, you are going to want to let the sugar cool before digging in.  Trust me – if you don’t – you’ll have a burned tongue!

Caramelizing Tip #1: If you don’t have a culinary torch – use your oven broiler to melt and caramelize your sugar.

Caramelizing Tip #2: Finding butane for your culinary torch can be tricky.  Most home improvement stores have it on the shelf.  So skip looking for it all over town and head to the hardware store.

What is The Best Sugar To Use For Caramelizing?

Ultra fine sugar is best for Creme brûlée because it melts easily.  The last thing you want is a crust that is half melted and half sugar.  Ultra fine sugar is sometimes hard to fine, so you can make your own by giving regular granulated sugar a whirl in your blender or food processor. Ultra fine sugar is NOT the same thing as powdered sugar.  Powdered sugar WILL NOT work for creme brulee.

Ultra Fine Sugar Tip #1: Use a blender or food processor to make your own fine sugar out of regular granulated sugar.  A few whirls is all it takes to create that fine consistency.

Vanilla Creme Brûlée being broken with a silver spoon.

Can I Make It Ahead?

The custard portion of this vanilla Creme brûlée can be made ahead.  The custard will keep for about 5 days in the fridge, but you’ll want to do the carmelized sugar step just before serving.  That warm crust is really the crowning jewel of this dessert.

What Can I Make Creme Brûlée In?

You can make creme brulee in any small oven safe dish.

all work great for making this delightful dessert.

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5 from 1 vote
Vanilla Creme Brûlée is aqua cocottes on a wire cooling rack, garnished with berries.
Créme Brûlée
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Chill Time
2 hrs
Total Time
3 hrs 5 mins
 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: caramelized dessert, creme brulee, vanilla creme brulee
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 768 kcal
Author: Kadee
Ingredients
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla bean split and scraped (or 1 tbsp vanilla extract)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar for topping
  • berries for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325.

  2. In a saucepan, combine cream and vanilla bean pulp (or extract). Heat over medium high heat just until boiling. Remove from heat and cover while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a stand mixer combine egg yolks and sugar. Using the whisk attachment whisk until the color becomes pale. 

  4. With the whisk still turning start adding in the hot cream, little by little. (Dumping it all in would cook the eggs, so take it slow.)

  5. Place 6 ramekins on a large baking sheet or cake pan. Fill the ramekins evenly with the mixture.

  6. Now pour hot water into your cake pan so that the water reaches about halfway up your ramekins.

  7. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes until set, but still a little jiggly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours...but can be left in the fridge for 2-5 days. By placing them in the fridge your custard will firm up and become the perfect texture.

  8. After the custard is done chilling use the 1/2 cup sugar sprinkle each ramekin with a bit of sugar. I like a thicker crust on mine, so I put a bit more sugar. Using a torch caramelize the sugar using an even circular motion until the sugar bubbles and becomes golden brown. Don't have a torch? Try using your oven broiler to caramelize the sugar. After you are done there should be a firm crust on your custard.
  9. Let cool for 5 minutes. Garnish with berries.
Recipe Notes

Caramelizing Tip #1: If you don't have a culinary torch - use your oven broiler to melt and caramelize your sugar.

Caramelizing Tip #2: Finding butane for your culinary torch can be tricky.  Most home improvement stores have it on the shelf.  So skip looking for it all over town and head to the hardware store.

Ultra Fine Sugar Tip #1: Use a blender or food processor to make your own fine sugar out of regular granulated sugar.  A few whirls is all it takes to create that fine consistency.

Nutrition Facts
Créme Brûlée
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 768 Calories from Fat 567
% Daily Value*
Fat 63g97%
Saturated Fat 38g238%
Cholesterol 412mg137%
Sodium 69mg3%
Potassium 138mg4%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Sugar 41g46%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 2590IU52%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 126mg13%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. 5 stars
    Kudos! Super impressed with your layout and pictures/videos. Simplifies everything. As a result I will be checking out your site very frequently.You have become one of my favs.
    Hope to try your recipe/recipes soonest – They look delicious!
    Thanks