I know, I know. You're thinking "Crème Brûlée? Really?" But hear me out before you scroll down. This is a fail-proof crème brûlée recipe that will blow your mind and change your life! Easy to make and... oh, and soo delicious! A classy dessert by far.
I remember a few years back we were going to this West End restaurant in London, belonging to one of the top chefs, just for this crème brûlée. It was the most amazing one I have ever had in any restaurant. Well, allow me to say, my version reminds me of that, exactly.
I have discovered the secret to why this is the best crème brûlée after only a few years of making it at home. Do you want to know the secret? I will reveal that a little later.
Crème brûlée, crème brûlée the love of my life, the love of my life. Oh, yes!
My love for custard is known and I could actually say very easily that I can never, but never, refuse anything with custard.
Have you seen that French movie Amélie? Well, you should watch it and I’m pretty sure you will develop a love for this beautiful dessert and that magical sound of a crème brûlée top cracking and then sink into that velvety, silky and so smooth custard. Hmmmmm, are you with me?!
What is Crème Brûlée?
Crème brûlée is that irresistible French vanilla dessert, silky, smooth, rich custard topped with a thin brittle pane of toffee, definitely a chic, fine representation of a dessert, no doubt about it.
The name comes from the French words 'Krem Bru Lei' which means burnt cream and other names of crème brulee are burnt cream, crema Catalana, or Trinity cream ( I love this one and I agree with this the most - it should be Holy Trinity).
Who invented this wonderful dessert?
The French chef Francois Massialot is the creator of crème brûlée and we are talking about 1691 (making it one of the oldest desserts). Francois was clearly a genius, he is definitely in heaven and will be blessed forever!
I mean..... look at this beauty, it cannot get any better in terms of a dessert, can it?
How to make Crème Brûlée
- Prepare egg mixture – Mix egg yolks with the sugar
- Scrape vanilla bean – To scrape the vanilla bean you will need to make a lengthwise incision. Using the back of a butter knife or any small knife, scrape the inside to remove the bean seeds.
- Infuse cream – simmer the cream and vanilla seeds over low heat for approximately ten minutes and set aside to rest for 40-50 minutes to get cool. This will avoid egg curdling.
- Make custard – Pour the cream into the egg and sugar mixture and whisk until combined.
- Fill ramekins – Fill the small ramekins or....some larger (restaurant style) oven-proof dishes and this is simply to get more joy in crackling the caramel, the best bit, right? Clever!!
- Water bath – Place ramekins in a deeper roasting pan and fill the pan with boiling water- the water level should be approximately halfway up the side of the ramekins.
- Bake 35 – 40 minutes - until the custard looks and feels set but still wobbly when gently shaken.
Tips for making a good creme brulee :
- Crème brûlée can be made in small ramekins, larger ramekins, or in a large ovenproof dish. It really depends on how you want it to be and look when serving it. Personally, this dessert should always be made in a fairly large dish. Large enough for me to dip my head into or even go for a dive. Haha - I do love it!
- use the best cream available, the more fat the better this one comes out. Please don’t even think for a second about cutting any corners or any fat percentage. This is a lush, indulgent, and totally delicious dessert and it should stay this way.
- if you don’t have a blowtorch (most people don’t own one but if you do I’m impressed) the oven grill will work perfectly. Set this on and place all the ramekins or the oven dish under the grill after sprinkling the sugar on top.
- Keep an eye on it all but it should not take longer than 2 min. It all depends on how high the grill has been set to but also how close this is to the actual grill, I recommend a good 5 to 10 cm distance. Definitely keeping an eye on this it’s a great idea as the sugar does caramelize pretty quickly.
Please do not be put off making this amazing creamy dessert at home because you don’t have the right tool for caramelizing the sugar topping. Don’t worry for a second if you don’t have a blowtorch, it can easily be done by using an oven grill. See recipe notes for more details.
The custard is made with heavy cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla but the main ingredient is heavy cream or double cream. This has to be a good one, the quality of the heavy cream in this dessert is paramount.
Since this recipe only uses egg yolks, keep the egg whites for later use and there are many things you can make with egg whites such as meringue, marshmallows, or an omelet or a quiche where extra egg whites are always welcome.
Oh, absolutely! crème brûlée can be made quite ahead of time, even the day before so if you decide to make it ahead at step 6 you just place it in the refrigerator and serve it whenever needed.
When it comes to the taste of crème brulee there are variations but traditionally, this dessert only contains milk, eggs, cream, sugar, and vanilla, but sometimes flavored with lemon, coffee, butterscotch, or even cinnamon.
The flavor of crème brulee is very similar to crème caramel or baked custard but this is definitely the richest in terms of texture and taste.
There is not much you can change about a dessert like this apart from flavors but there is something that you should never forget to add. That is salt. A pinch of salt. I totally believe it is the salt that makes this a complete divinity. Salt is what makes the difference giving it a proper definition and enhancing the flavors. Mmmm Perfection!
And, the best part
I’m so sure you will totally agree with me on this one...
The best part of a crème brûlée, to begin with, is the cracking of the caramelized sugar on top… Mmmmm!!!
Creme Brulee is an excellent make-ahead 4 main ingredients dessert to make for any occasion, especially an elegant dinner party, it will definitely impress.
Indulging in this creamy deliciousness....how good is this?
It is amazing what a few ingredients can deliver and this dessert is definitely a stunner. Simple and beautifully creamy and so velvety, decadent and LUSH.
Other desserts you may like:
- 17 ultimate chocolate desserts for all tastes
- Gorgeous cake pops
- Banana caramel cream dessert by Glorious Treats
- Mascarpone tiramisu dessert
Grab a spoon now and let's get on with preparing this cracking dessert. Enjoy!
Crème brûlée -the best and the simplest dessert
- glass bowl
- 500 ml double cream (6.91 fl oz)
- 1-2 vanilla pod I used 2 smaller ones
- 80 g of sugar plus 40 extra for topping (2.82 oz)
- 5 eggs yolks * see recipe notes
- 1 pinch salt
- Start by preheating the oven at 150°C or 300°F.
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
- Into a bowl whisk the egg yolks, a pinch of salt and the sugar together until it’s nice and homogeneous. Do not overmix. Set aside.
- Split the vanilla pod(s) with a sharp knife all the way down through the middle and scrape the seeds out with the blade of the knife. Cut the vanilla beans pods into chunks. Add to the cream.
- Place a pan over medium heat and pour in the cream. Bring this to boiling point but do not allow it to boil.
- Pour the cream over the egg and sugar mixture. Whisk this together until it feels that the sugar has completely dissolved. Discard the vanilla pods at this point if you have used them.
- Pour the crème brûlée mixture into ramekins (or one dish) and put those into a deep baking tray.
- Pour hot water until the water will reach halfway up the ramekins (submerging these or the one dish). This is called a bain-marie. It is best to pour the water after placing the tray into the oven - it may be easier.
- Bake these for about 35-40 minutes at 150°C /300°F or until they are set firm but still jiggle in the middle.
- Allow to cool and if you don’t serve them immediately refrigerate them right up until serving.
- Just before serving sprinkle over the rest of the sugar and use a blowtorch to caramelize the sugar into a thin top layer.