There’s something about crème brûlée. Even the words sound fancy. It’s the sort of dish you expect to find at swanky French restaurants.
What if I told you that you could make crème brûlée at home? It’s true! And it tastes just as good as the ones at those fancy restaurants. All it takes is five simple ingredients – cream, vanilla, salt, egg and sugar.
Here is what you need to know to make this crème brûlée:
- You don’t need to own a kitchen torch to create the iconic crackly sugar top. This version offers two methods – with a kitchen torch or under the broiler. Both achieve the same result. But under the broiler, the crème brûlée comes out dark and caramelized. I call this the “Basque” version.
- Give the custard time to set. Let the ramekins chill for AT LEAST two hours before brûléeing the top, or you will end up with soup custard. And no one likes soupy custard.
- Don’t use fancy sugar. I meant it when I said simple ingredients. Save the expensive, raw, organic sugars for something else. Regular white granulated sugar is all you need. The small granules caramelize quickly, meaning sugar won’t get overly burnt, and the pudding won’t melt when you apply the extra heat.
If you make this recipe, consider tagging @chrissymeetsworld on Instagram.
Vanilla Crème Brûlée
- 2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 5 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar, plus more for topping
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Fill a kettle with water and bring to a boil.
- In a saucepan, combine the cream and salt and cook over low heat until just hot (~5 minutes). Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Add the vanilla.
- In a bowl, beat the yolks and sugar together until well blended and lightened in colour. Whisk a quarter of the cream into the sugar-egg mixture, then pour add sugar-egg mix into the cream, whisking continuously.
- Pour the custard into four 6-ounce ramekins and place the ramekins in a large cake or roasting pan. Fill the pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the ramekins. Be careful not to get any water into the ramekins. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the centers are barely set. Remove the ramekins from the pan and let them cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
- When ready to serve, top each ramekin with a teaspoon of sugar in a thin, even layer.
If you are using a torch:
- Melt the sugar until it caramelizes and a crispy top forms. Adding more sugar as needed. Allow the crème brûlée to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
If you are using the broiler:
- Place the ramekins 2 to 3 inches from the heat source, and turn on the broiler. Cook until the sugar melts and browns or even blackens a bit, about 5 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.