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Creme Brulee – Complicated Sounding Name, Easy Recipe

July 15, 2010

Not long ago, I got an insatiable craving for creme brulee. It’s one of those delicious desserts that almost every mid-level to five star restaurant carries. Sadly, every place I went to had no creme brulee. With every restaurant I became more and more determined to find some creme brulee! The hard, crunchy, sugary exterior that gives way to the deliciously smooth, creamy, custard underbelly, I was obsessed. It took me going all the way to another town to finally find some. I devoured it and had to use all of my will power not to order seconds.

I decided the next time I made my way over to the mall, I would have to purchase ramekins and a butane torch from Williams-Sonoma so I could make ridiculous amounts of creme brulee whenever I darn well pleased! Well, I did just that, and the following is the result of two different attempts. 


4 eggs

4 tablespoons of sugar

dash of salt

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 pint of heavy cream


4  ramekins


Small and Medium mixing bowls

Roasting Pan

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Take the four eggs and separate the yolks from the whites. When I was younger and worked with my grandmother at a bakery, she taught me to do this by cracking an egg in the middle, and passing the yolk back and forth between the two shell halves until all the white had drained out. Since I don’t like to waste, I separated the whites into  a small Tupperware container and used them for omelets the next morning.

Put the four egg yolks in a small mixing bowl and whisk until all the yolks are broken and smooth. Set aside.

Next, put the sugar and heavy cream into the large mixing bowl. Stir gently with the whisk to combine the ingredients, do not whip. The recipe I used called for me to put the mixture in the microwave for two minutes to dissolve the sugar, but if you don’t want to nuke it this process can just as easily be completed on the stove.

Take your sugar and cream mixture out of the microwave and stir it a bit to make sure the sugar is all dissolved. Stir in the eggs and whisk the mixture thoroughly, then add your salt and vanilla extract.

After all ingredients have been whisked sufficiently, pour the mixture into the four ramekins and place the four ramekins in a roasting pan. Pour very hot water (but not boiling) into the roasting pan until it reaches half way up the outside of the ramekins.

Place the roasting pan in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.

When you pull the roasting pans out, the custard will have hardened a little, but it may still be jiggly. This is okay, mine was jiggly and it still set in the refrigerator.

Set the ramekins in your refrigerator where they wont get bumped or bothered or spilled or any other number of fridge related disasters that could happen to them. Like so..

Let chill for no less then two hours. One batch I did for about two hours, the other was for more like five. My five hour batch tasted better, it seemed firmer and creamier, but maybe I was just imagining it.

Sprinkle sugar on top of the custard. You can use either white or brown sugar, do NOT use cane sugar. With my first batch I tried to use cane sugar and it basically caught on fire! The crystals are too hard to melt and they will look like this….

No good! Actually, that’s a lie, it was still delicious, it just looked ugly. The second batch I did I actually mixed white and brown sugar and it turned out awesome.

Now comes the fun part, melt that sucker with a butane torch! If you have a torch, you’ll want to rotate it in circles with the flame right above the sugar, slowly melting and caramelizing it.

If you don’t have a butane torch, they are fun.. get one. See example below…

However you can stick the ramekins under the broiler for a few minutes and it will melt the sugar in a not as fun but sufficient way.

After the sugar has melted, let it cool and harden for about two minutes. You can eat it as is, or top it with some berries or mint leaves to make it pretty if you’re entertaining. This is just a simple custard recipe, next I will try creme brulee in various flavors including various fruits in the custard. Enjoy!

Posted by Julianna. Recipe modified from

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 16, 2010 12:03 am

    Yeah, it was really really good, Jules. I am also quite pleased the house remained unburnt. Butane torches are cool as all get-out, but be safe kiddies.

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