Crème Brûlée is a French
term for what the English refer to as burnt cream. It is a
very simple dish consisting of a velvety custard topped with
a caramelized sugar glaze. The beauty of this dish is that
it is naturally gluten-free!
Although usually thought of as an elegant dessert, crème
brûlée is rather easy to make. Simply said, all
you do is make a custard, cook it, cool it and then add a
small amount of sugar to the top and caramelize it with a
kitchen torch or place beneath the broiler. This dessert is
fabulous for entertaining since it can be made a day or two
in advance with only a small amount of preparation required
(the caramelization of the sugar) prior to serving!
Classic crème brûlée
inherits its velvety and delicate flavor from basically
2 ingredients eggs and cream. Traditionally this classic
custard did not use any additional flavors such as vanilla,
however many have adapted the traditional recipe to include
vanilla. When using vanilla, be sure to use the scrapings
from the vanilla bean (not an extract). This will make all
the difference in the world and will make your crème
brûlée famous among your family and friends!
Here is our basic recipe for crème brûlée:
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and
- 1/4 cup air-dried light brown sugar (see
Preheat oven to 275º F.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with
half of the granulated sugar. In a small saucepan, warm the
heavy cream with the vanilla-bean scrapings and the remaining
granulated sugar until the cream is steaming. Gradually whisk
the hot cream into the egg-yolk mixture until blended. Strain
the custard and pour it into four 5-ounce ramekins or shallow
Set the ramekins in a small baking dish and add enough hot
tap water to the dish to reach halfway up the sides of the
ramekins. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the
custards are just set. Let the custards cool in the water
bath for 10 minutes, then remove from the baking dish and
allow them to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for at
least 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat the broiler. Sift a thin even layer of the air-dried
brown sugar over each of the custards. Broil one ramekin at
a time as close as possible to the heat source until the brown
sugar melts, forming a caramelized crust on top of the custard.
Tip: To air-dry brown sugar, sift it onto
a plate and leave it out, uncovered, for 1 day. Alternatively,
if the weather is humid, the sifted brown sugar can also be
dried in the oven. Set the temperature at 250ºF and put
the sugar in the oven for 20 minutes.
Weve taken it a step further and have
many other variations of crème brûlée,
including a casein-free version (if you can believe that!)
that are equally delicious as the more common basic crème
Crème Brûlée with Caramelized Bananas
Cheese Brûlée with Raspberries