Crème Brûlée
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Creamy vanilla pudding with a crunchy crust on top
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 5 Tbsp vanilla sugar (the kind with the vanilla bean ground up into the sugar–if you don’t have it, use granulated sugar and add the scrapings of 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream (or 1 cup light cream and 1 cup heavy cream, which is what I used)
  • hot water to fill a pan
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 5 Tbsp vanilla sugar until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  3. Start heating a kettle of water. At the same time, pour the cream into a medium sauce pan (add the vanilla bean scrapings, if using) and heat over medium until bubbles form around the perimeter of the pan. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour the heated cream into the eggs/sugar mixture, whisking the entire time. Whisk for another minute to combine completely.
  5. Through a fine mesh sieve, pour the custard into four ½-cup ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking pan and pour the hot water from the kettle into the pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  6. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the custard is set but still a little jiggly in the middle (it took 27 minutes in my oven). Remove ramekins from baking pan (if you have a jar lifter, it works perfectly for this!) and cool completely, refrigerating uncovered for 1-2 hours, or up to overnight.
  7. When ready to serve, sprinkle about ½ Tbsp of granulated sugar over the surface of each custard and pass a lit kitchen torch back and forth over the sugar, browning as evenly as possible. You’re trying to melt the sugar here, not turn it black. It may take a few tries til you get the hang of it. I know I’m definitely out of practice. If you do not have a kitchen torch, you can brown the sugar under your oven’s broiler–just watch it carefully to make sure you don’t overdo it.
I tried to use turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw) for my first two attempts at brûlée-ing and had a lot of problems getting it even and not too dark/burnt tasting. Regular granulated sugar worked much better for me. I recommend that for a beginner, as you’re more likely to be successful on the first try.
Recipe by Poet in the Pantry at