Crème Brûlée

February 21, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

A very traditional - and wonderful desert. Exactly as it should be. —Rogue Gourmet

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 9 egg yolks
  • 6 teaspoons demerara/turbinado sugar
  1. With the oven rack adjusted to its lower middle position, preheat the oven to 300° F (150°C). Fold a kitchen towel to cover the bottom of a large roasting pan and arrange 6 five-ounce (150 ml) ramekins on the towel. The ramekins should not touch each other, or the side of the roasting pan. If the roasting pan is not large enough, scale down the recipe.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups of the cream, the sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. With a paring knife, halve the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the saucepan. Submerge the pods in the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove the saucepan from the heat and steep the mixture for 20 minutes to infuse the flavor.
  3. Meanwhile, separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a large bowl and storing the whites for another use. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. After the cream has steeped remove the pods and stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream to cool the mixture.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks until they are evenly combined. Add a cup of the cream mixture to the yolks and whisk until combined. Continue adding cups of cream and whisking until evenly colored. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a second bowl. Ladle the mixture into the 6 ramekins.
  5. Place the roasting pan onto the oven rack and pour in boiling water until it reaches 2/3 the height of the ramekins. Do not splash water into the ramekins. Bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 170 to 175°F (77 to 79° C). At this time the centers of the custard should be barely set. The baking time depends upon the height of the ramekins. If shallow, start checking temperature at 30 minutes. Higher ramekins can take up to an hour to bake.
  6. Cool ramekins to room temperature on a wire rack. Place on a shallow tray, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Before serving, uncover the ramekins and soak up any condensation with paper toweling. Spread 1 teaspoon turbinado (Demarara) sugar on each, tilting and tapping to spread the sugar evenly. Spread sugar only on the number of ramekins that will be served. The others can be stored for several days in the refrigerator for later use.
  7. Ignite a propane blowtorch and caramelize the sugar on each ramekin. Take care to direct the flame away from any ignitable material. Avoid the miniature butane torch since its flame is not adequate for uniform caramelization in a reasonable amount of time. Re-chill the ramekins for not more than 45 minutes. A longer time leads to softening of the caramelized crust.
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8 Reviews

Darian May 18, 2020
This was my first attempt at a homemade creme brulee and I was thrilled with the results! I made 2/3 of the recipe and used 4 creme brulee ramekins (pretty shallow). It took about 45 minutes for them to cook. I don't have a torch (yet!) but I used the broiler very carefully and they turned out beautifully. A real treat!
Kristen N. March 8, 2015
I am a home cook, and not an exceptional one at that. I decided today that I would make the foray into homemade creme brûlée. This recipe was easy to follow, and so far, have turned out an excellent product. The ramekins are cooling on the wire rack right now. I had a hell of a time, though, getting them out of the burning water-filled roasting pan. I nearly wrecked one, but got most out without damage except to the skin on my hands. Any tips for doing this in a safer, less frantic way next time?
Jessica December 16, 2015
What has always helped me is to pull the rack out a little ways from the oven, leaving the hot pan/water on the rack, then you can remove each ramekin with an oven glove. Using the oven glove gives you the grip you need to grab each one from the top and put directly on a rack. You can then push the pan back into the oven and let it cool with the oven so its not a treacherous journey to the sink. Hope this helps!
thirschfeld March 11, 2011
That is a nice looking brulee, I think you have caramelized the tops of a few by the looks of that one. Like the bean seeds in the bottom too.
Rogue G. March 11, 2011
Thanks thirschfeld. to tell the truth, I worked as a cook for years and have caramelized more brulees than you can shake a stick at. In this case the photo was taken by a photographer - not me. The addition of chocolate wasn't my idea.
I love vanilla. The idea that vanilla is is used to describe things that are plain never ceases to amaze me. Anyone who thinks vanilla is plain, has never held a vanilla pod - probably doesn't know if comes from an orchid... I could go on.
Rogue G. February 22, 2011
Thanks! - and you are right, there is nothing like a good creme brulee (and I must admit, I am quite partial to the traditional recipe, I have had chocolate creme brulee, cheesecake creme brulee, and other variations none of which, in my opinion match the original when it is done well.

I must admit, I often add two vanilla beans when I make this recipe :)
Cook T. February 22, 2011
There's nothing quite like creme brulee. Creamy and crisp all at once. I love the look of vanilla seeds in the picture too.
Blissful B. February 22, 2011
Beautiful photo! Makes me wish I could take a bite.