Easy Crème Brûlée is a classic dessert recipe that seems fancy, but is actually very simple, with only a few ingredients needed.
- 4 cups (1 quart) heavy cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
- hot water for water bath
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- In a medium saucepan heat the heavy cream over medium heat until it just comes to a boil. Remove from the heat, add in the vanilla extract, cover the pot and and allow to cool for 10 minutes. (If using vanilla bean scrape the seeds into the cream and add in the seed pod to infuse more flavor into the cream).
- In a large bowl whisk together 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the egg yolks until pale in color and thoroughly mixed. Whisk in the warm heavy cream into the egg mixture slowly, adding about 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly as to not scramble the eggs.
- Place 8 (6- ounce) ramekins into a large baking pan. Place the ramekins evenly into the baking pan and fill each ramekin equally with the cream mixture, filling about 1/2- inch from the top.
- Heat 1 1/2 – 2 quarts of water until very hot. Pour the hot water into the baking dish until the water is about half-way up each ramekin, creating a water bath.
- Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until the tops are set but the custard still “jiggles” slightly when moved. To be sure about doneness you can also use an instant read thermometer. The custard will be done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F – 170°F. You don’t want the tops to brown.
- Using an oven mitt or tongs, remove the ramekins from the hot water and allow to cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover the ramekins loosely with plastic wrap and transfer the custards into the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.
- When ready to serve divide the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar evenly on top of the custards. Using a kitchen torch go over the sugar lightly until it bubbles and then browns. *Alternately you can do this under an oven broiler if you don’t own a kitchen torch. Broil the sugar anywhere from 3-10 minutes, watching carefully as not to burn the sugar. Home oven broilers can vary greatly.
- Allow the sugar to cool for 5 minutes before serving to firm up and become crunchy. The sugar will soften if placed back in the refrigerator, so it’s best to do this step right before serving.
If you are using wide and shallow ramekins, as opposed to the deeper ones pictures here, the bake time will be slightly less. Start checking them after 30 minutes to ensure they don’t over-bake. Also, you might need a little more granulated sugar to top the custards before caramelizing, as there is more surface area to cover.
As stated, the caramelized sugar won’t stay as crunchy, and will soften if refrigerated after torching, so save this step until you’re ready to serve.
If using the broiler to burn the sugar I like to create an ice bath to place the ramekins in before going under the broiler to keep the custard as cold as possible.
Store airtight in the refrigerator for up t 3 days before torching and serving.
To Freeze: Cool them as stated in the recipe, chill them for at least one hour, then cover tightly and freeze for up to 30 days. Allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before torching and serving!
Keywords: cookies and cups, crème brûlée, custard, dessert recipe