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Classic Creme Brulee recipe

Classic Creme Brulee recipe

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  • Dish type
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  • Creme brulee

This elegant dessert is the perfect end to any meal. It's easy to make and tastes fantastic. A rich, creamy egg custard is served with a brittle caramel topping.

35 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 475ml single cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 110g dark brown soft sugar

MethodPrep:40min ›Cook:30min ›Ready in:1hr10min

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together eggs and sugar until smooth; set aside.
  2. Heat cream in a double boiler until bubbles start to form at edges. Remove from heat and whisk into egg mixture, a little at a time, until fully incorporated.
  3. Return mixture to double boiler and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Cook 2 minutes more, then remove from heat. Cool completely. Stir in vanilla.
  4. Preheat grill.
  5. Pour cooled mixture into a 1 litre, shallow baking dish and place dish in an ice bath, in a larger, ovenproof dish.
  6. Sprinkle dark brown soft sugar over surface of mixture and place under preheated grill for 1 to 2 minutes, until top is lightly browned and bubbly.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(23)

Reviews in English (20)

by Barbara Tantrum

I put this recipe in little custard cups, and it turned out wonderfully! It doesn't set up as firm as baked custards, and it's not as heavy as a lot of similiar recipes are, and I liked that very much. It also has about half the calories as many other recipes. Overall, it was easy and very tasty. This will become my favorite creme brulee recipe!-29 Apr 2003


Easy to make and delicious. Small problems: I used heavy cream, which apparently does not form bubbles around the edges, and I was not entirely clear on exactly what "coating the back of a metal spoon" really *means*. (A temperature might have been helpful.) But it turned out quite well anyway. I'm guessing that the stovetop preparation of the custard resulted in it having a slightly more creamy, liquidy texture than other cremes brulee, but no one complained. Minor quibbles aside, it was all in all a good recipe.-18 Feb 2002

Crème brûlée recipes

Make a classic crème brûlée with creamy filling and crunchy caramel topping. You can flavour this French dessert with vanilla, chocolate, fruit and more.

Ultimate crème brûlée

With a rich, creamy vanilla custard and crunchy, caramelised topping, our crème brûlée makes the ultimate indulgent dessert. Follow our professional tips for mastering this classic French sweet

White chocolate crème brûlée

Serve this super-creamy chocolate dessert on its own, or as part of an 'assiete' of mini chocolate puddings

Recipe Summary

  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 5 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup white sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare some boiling water.

Combine cream and 5 teaspoons sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Beat egg yolks and vanilla in a bowl until smooth and light. Pour hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, a little at a time, and beat continuously until well blended. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Divide evenly among four 3-ounce ramekins.

Arrange ramekins in a baking pan and place on the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Pour boiling water into the baking pan until halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil.

Bake until custard is just set and jiggles when gently shaken, about 25 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight.

Sprinkle remaining sugar evenly over top of the cooled custards. With a kitchen torch, move the flame continuously in a circular motion over the surface of each ramekin, until the sugar melts and becomes golden brown and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Recipe Summary

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Prepare oven and baking dishes: Heat oven to 300 degrees. Bring a kettle or pot of water to a boil. Place eight 5-ounce baking dishes in a large roasting pan.

Gently heat cream: In a medium saucepan, combine cream and half the sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons). Scrape vanilla bean seeds into pan, then add pod. Heat over medium just until mixture starts to bubble around the edge of the pan, 7 to 8 minutes (do not let boil).

Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with remaining sugar and the salt.

Temper eggs: Use ladle to pour a small amount of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, then whisk to combine. (This is called tempering and prevents the eggs from curdling.) Add two more ladles of cream mixture, one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Gradually whisk in remaining cream mixture. Strain through a fine sieve into a large liquid measuring cup (to remove the vanilla pod and any cooked bits of egg).

Bake: Divide custard evenly among baking dishes. Place pan in oven. Add enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake until custards are just set (they should tremble slightly in center when shaken), 30 to 40 minutes.

Chill: Remove pan from oven. Use tongs to carefully remove dishes from hot-water bath and place on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours (or up to 3 days) before serving. The custard will finish setting in the refrigerator. If you like, transfer the custards to the freezer 15 minutes before serving to ensure they stay cold after being bruleed (this is especially important if using the broiler).

Caramelize tops and serve: Sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar over each custard. Working with one at a time, pass the flame of the torch in a circular motion 1 to 2 inches above the surface of each custard until the sugar bubbles, turns amber, and forms a smooth surface. Serve immediately.

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We love this classic, vanilla crème brûlée, but there are many flavor varieties. Citrus and cafe au lait are a couple of popular variations to the classic recipe, but one of our favorite flavored varieties is lavender. If you want to take the time to infuse the cream with fresh or dried lavender, go for it! Otherwise, keep it simple and add in 1/2 teaspoon of lavender extract with the cream.

You really don’t need a kitchen torch for crème brûlée. You can caramelize the sugar in your oven under the broiler setting, however the downside to this is that broiling can also heat up the custard and make it soupy. If you don’t want to invest in another kitchen tool, just keep a watchful eye and don’t let them stay too long under the broiler.

Classic Creme Brulee Recipe

The custard base is traditionally flavored with vanilla, but can also be flavored with lemon or orange (zest), rosemary, lavender, chocolate, Amaretto, Grand Marnier, cinnamon, coffee, liqueurs, green tea, pistachio, hazelnut, coconut, or other fruit.

The earliest known reference to crème brûlée as it is known today appears in François Massialot’s 1691 cookbook, and the French name was used in the English translation of this book, but the 1731 edition of Massialot’s Cuisinier roial et bourgeois changed the name of the same recipe from “crème brûlée” to “crème anglaise”. In the early eighteenth century, the dessert was called “burnt cream” in English.

In Britain, a version of crème brûlée (known locally as “Trinity Cream” or “Cambridge burnt cream”) was introduced at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1879 with the college arms “impressed on top of the cream with a branding iron”. The story goes that the recipe was from an Aberdeenshire country house and was offered by an undergraduate to the college cook, who turned it down. However, when the student became a Fellow, he managed to convince the cook.

Classic Creme Brulee Recipe

Prep Time:15 min
Inactive Prep Time:2 hr 15 min
Cook Time:1 hr
Serves: 6 servings

Classic Crème Brûlée

This classic version of one of France's signature desserts is surprisingly easy to make.


  • 2 cups (454g) heavy cream (or 1 cup (227g) half & half + 1 cup (227g) heavy cream)
  • 5 tablespoons (71g) sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3 tablespoons (39g) granulated sugar or coarse sparkling sugar


Pour the cream into a 1-quart saucepan, and heat the cream just until it almost comes to a boil. Remove it from the heat.

Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until the sugar dissolves.

Add the hot cream a little at a time mix well.

Stir in the vanilla bean paste.

Pour the custard through a fine sieve or strainer, and pour it into four heart molds, or 1/2-cup capacity ramekins about 2" tall.

Place the molds or ramekins in a large baking pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the dishes.

Bake until the custard is set but still a bit jiggly in the center, about 30 minutes.

Remove the dishes from the water and let cool completely. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or up to overnight no need to cover.

To serve, sprinkle the sugar evenly over the custards. For easiest caramelizing, run a torch evenly over the tops of the custards until the sugar is a deep golden brown. Or caramelize the sugar by placing molds or ramekins under your oven's broiler watch carefully, as a broiler element can turn sugar from browned to burned quickly.

Vanilla Recipes

The pleasure of this deliciously rich dessert lies in its contrast of textures, the soft and creamy custard hidden under a brittle sheet of caramelized brown sugar. The custard is baked and served in small ramekins - shallow ceramic souffle-type molds, round or oval, with a 1/2-cup capacity. You don't have to crust them, since the cooked and chilled custards can be served simply as pots de crème.

The custards will still be soft when the ramekins come out of the oven. Give them plenty of time to chill and set before glazing.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • &frac23 cup granulated sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 vanilla pods (split lengthwise and seeds removed)
  • ¼ cup lightly packed light brown sugar (sifted to remove lumps)

Place the whole eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Heat the cream and the vanilla beans in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat for 7-10 minutes. Slowly add to the egg mixture, stirring gently as you go (if you add the creme and beans too fast, the eggs will curdle). Mix well and pour into four 3/4-cup oven proof ramekins.

Set the ramekins in a baking pan. Fill the pan with enough hot water to reach halfway up the side of the ramekins. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the custard is slightly firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and carefully lift the ramekins from the water bath.

Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat broiler for 15 minutes. Evenly sprinkle the surface of each custard with brown sugar. Place under the broiler until the sugar is melted, dark brown, and bubbling.

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Ingredients for Classic Creme Brulee Recipe

This classic dessert might seem complicated, but in reality, it’s one of the easiest recipes to make. All you need is just 4 ingredients:

  • Egg Yolks
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Heavy Cream
  • Vanilla Extract

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 300°F. Add heavy cream, vanilla bean seeds, and pod to small saucepot. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until little bubbles form around sides of the cream in the pot.

Combine egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until pale yellow and yolks fall off of whisk in ribbons, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl as necessary. With mixer running on medium-low speed, slowly add hot cream mixture. Whisk until thoroughly combined.

Place a folded kitchen towel (or a few paper towels) on the bottom of a roasting pan or glass baking dish large enough to hold six 6-ounce ramekins. Place ramekins on top of towel and ladel custard base evenly between them. Remove one ramekin and carefully pour hot water into baking dish until it comes 1/2 way up sides of ramekins. Replace missing ramekin.

Bake until custard is set but still jiggles in center, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature without removing ramekins from water bath. Once cool, cover ramekins in plastic and refrigerate until set, at elast 4 hours, and up to overnight.

To serve, sprinkle each ramekin with 1 teaspoon sugar. Brown with kitchen torch, and serve immediately.


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