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Classic Crème Brûlée (5 Ingredients)

Classic Crème Brûlée (5 Ingredients)

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What is Crème Brûlée?

Crème brûlée is a classic French dessert that embodies the finesse and elegance of culinary craftsmanship. This exquisite dish strikes a remarkable balance of textures and flavors, designed to both intrigue and satisfy. At its core, crème brûlée features a delicious, vanilla-infused custard that’s smooth and rich, offering a one-of-a-kind luxurious experience with each bite. Yet, the real intrigue comes from its contrasting top layer – a delicate, brittle crust of caramelized sugar that delights with its crispness and rich, toasted flavor.

This crust not only introduces a satisfying crunch but also enhances the underlying custard, creating a harmonious blend of sweetness and depth. The creation of a quality crème brûlée is a meticulous process, demanding precision in temperature control to perfect the custard’s consistency, and skillful use of a torch or broiler to achieve the iconic, caramelized topping.

Whether it’s the crowning touch to an elegant evening dinner or simply a cherished treat to indulge in, crème brûlée stands as a timeless favorite that continues to captivate food enthusiasts worldwide. With every bite, it invites you to explore the depths of its flavors and the craftsmanship behind its creation, making each experience both memorable and delightful.

Classic Crème Brûlée Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for the topping

Estimated Prep and Baking Time

  • Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Baking Time: 35-40 minutes
  • Cooling Time: 2 hours-overnight
  • Total Time: Minimum 3 hours

Classic Crème Brûlée Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (162°C).
  2. Arrange four ramekins in a deep baking dish and set aside.

Making the vanilla cream mixture

  1. In a saucepan over low heat, add the heavy cream and salt.
  2. Bring to a simmer until just hot, then remove from heat.
  3. Let sit for a few minutes, then whisk in the vanilla extract.

Making the egg mixture

  1. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and combine with sugar until light and creamy. 
  2. Temper the eggs (meaning carefully heating and cooling – we don’t want them to cook) by slowly stirring about a quarter of the vanilla cream mixture into the egg mixture, until well combined.

Baking the crème brûlée

  1. Pour egg-cream mixture into remaining cream mixture and stir. 
  2. Divide the mixture into four 6-ounce ramekins in the baking dish.

Helpful tip: Strain the mixture before pouring into ramekins to extract any egg that may have curdled

  1. Create a water bath in the baking dish, pouring water halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  2. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the custards are slightly set but still slightly wobbly in the center.
  3. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool to room temperature.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days

Finishing the crème brûlée

  1. When ready to serve, remove the ramekins from the refrigerator.
  2. Evenly sprinkle the top of the crème brûlée with about 1 teaspoon of sugar to make a thin layer.
  3. Arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet for ease of handling.
  4. Position oven rack so the tops of the crème brûlées will be about 5 to 6 inches from the broiler element and preheat your broiler to high.
  5. Place the baking sheet under the broiler with the oven door slightly ajar. Sugar should start to melt and bubble, turning a beautiful golden brown in 1 to 3 minutes. Keep a close watch!
  6. After achieving the desired caramelized top, remove the ramekins from the oven.
  7. Allow crème brûlée to sit for a minute to let the sugar harden, then place them back in the fridge for a few minutes to cool the custard before serving.

Note: Broiler intensities vary greatly, so times may differ. The key is to carefully watch the sugar caramelize to avoid burning.

Toppings for crème brûlée

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
Homemade salted caramel sauce

Looking for good quality, reasonably priced ramekins for this crème brûlée recipe (and so many other awesome desserts)? We recently purchased this set and they make these sometimes difficult desserts so much easier! Check out: Dowan’s 6 piece 8 oz. porcelain ramekin set

If you enjoyed this classic crème brûlée recipe as much as we do, be sure to check out our other desserts and recipes!


The crème brûlée “crack test”

Once you’ve completed the recipe steps and chilled your crème brûlée, it’s now time for to test your final product! If you take a spoon and tap the top layer (the caramelized sugar), it should crack.


Classic Crème Brûlée

Recipe by Reviews and Recipes
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: DessertCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Hard
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Cooling Time

2

hours 
Total time

3

hours 
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 5 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for the brûlée topping

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F (162°C).
  • Arrange four ramekins in a deep baking dish and set aside.
  • Making vanilla cream
  • In a saucepan over low heat, add the heavy cream and salt.
  • Bring to a simmer until just hot, then remove from heat.
  • Let sit for a few minutes, then whisk in the vanilla extract.
  • Making egg mixture
  • In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and combine with sugar until light and creamy.
  • Temper the eggs (meaning carefully heating and cooling- we don’t want them to cook) by slowly stirring about a quarter of the vanilla cream mixture into the egg mixture, until well combined.
  • Baking the crème brûlée
  • Pour egg-cream mixture into remaining cream mixture and stir.
  • Divide the mixture into four 6-ounce ramekins in the baking dish.
    Helpful tip: Strain the mixture before pouring into ramekins to extract any egg that may have curdled
  • Create a water bath in the baking dish, pouring water halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the custards are slightly set but still slightly wobbly in the center.
  • Remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool to room temperature.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days
  • Finishing the crème brûlée
  • When ready to serve, remove the ramekins from the refrigerator.
  • Evenly sprinkle the tops of crème brûlée with about 1 teaspoon of sugar to make a thin layer.
  • Arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet for ease of handling.
  • Position oven rack so the tops of the crème brûlées will be about 5 to 6 inches from the broiler element and preheat your broiler to high.
  • Place the baking sheet under the broiler with the oven door slightly ajar. Sugar should start to melt and bubble, turning a beautiful golden brown in 1 to 3 minutes. Keep a close watch!
  • After achieving the desired caramelized top, remove the ramekins from the oven.
  • Allow crème brûlées to sit for a minute to let the sugar harden, then place them back in the fridge for a few minutes to cool the custard before serving.