Crème Brûlée is one of my all-time favorite desserts. It's honestly something I really miss about going out to eat at a restaurant. You see, for almost all of my birthdays from middle school through college, I would order Crème Brûlée at a restaurant for a special occasion. Whether that be a birthday, graduation or any small victory in between. Crème Brûlée not only tastes great, but when you get it in a restaurant, oftentimes, they'll torch the top right in front of you. And I'm all for dinner and a show. As much as I love supporting restaurants right now, Crème Brûlée is probably not going to work for a takeout order. But I'm here to tell you, YOU can recreate this incredibly creamy, decadent dessert at home! And guess what, it's waaayyyy easier to make than you think. Usually, I make Crème Brûlée every year on New Year's Eve. However, this year I feel like we deserve to have it early (and possibly for both holidays)!
What is Crème Brûlée?
Let me back up, because I’m sure I’m getting ahead of myself. For those of you going, “what the heck is Crème Brûlée?” It is basically a smooth custard with caramelized sugar on top – the “brûlée”. It literally means, burnt cream.
- Get ramekins. If you don't get some sort of ramekin, your cook time is going to differ from this recipe. There are tons of cheap ramekins at Target, TJ Maxx and on Amazon. But if you're feeling really cheap, you can buy the molten lava cakes at Costco and keep the ceramic ramekins they come in!
- Buy organic heavy whipping cream. This is just a kitchen hack, but I have come to find that organic heavy cream last so much longer, so it’s perfect for having around while baking and cooking during the holiday season. It also tastes better and if you’re making whipped cream, it keeps its shape longer.
- Get some vanilla beans. Yes, real vanilla beans. No more, just calling it good with a little bit more of vanilla extract. Get the actual beans, they will change your life.
- Get a roasting pan, or some sort of pan with high sides. You're going to need to put your Crème Brûlée ramekins in a hot water bath, so it is essential that you have something deep enough to put them in. If you don't, your Crème Brûlée might not cool right.
- Invest in a torch. Torches are actually fairly inexpensive and essential to this recipe. If you don’t torch the top, where’s the fun in that?
Essentials for making Crème Brûlée (as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases):
Crème Brûlée Recipe
6 egg yolks
1 quart organic heavy whipping cream
1 cup organic granulated white sugar (1/2 for cream mixture and half for brûlée on top)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean scraped
- Preheat oven to 325 ᵒF
- Cut your vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the pulp.
- Put heavy cream, vanilla bean and pulp into a medium saucepan and on medium heat, bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat and let it cool for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, in a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla extract until light in color.
- Strain the cream mixture and then gradually pour it into the egg/sugar mixture, stirring as you pour.
- Pour the liquid into 6 ramekins (about 7-8 oz).
- Place the ramekins into a larger roasting pan. Pour hot water halfway up the sides of your ramekins to create a water bath.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, just until the crème brûlée is set, but still trembling in the middle.
- Remove from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
- Sprinkle remaining ½ cup sugar on the tops of the custards, then torch the tops using a circular motion.
- After torching, allow the Crème Brûlée top to harden and no longer be hot to the touch before serving.
BONUS - How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract!