Classic Creme Brûlée is made from just four ingredients, heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla; resulting in a rich custard topped with a layer of hard caramel. Also known as burnt cream, crema catalina or Trinity cream, Creme Brûlée is a dessert guaranteed to impress your guests. It is surprisingly simple to make and once you’ve tried making it yours, you may never be tempted to order this treat at a fancy restaurant again.
While my sister was visiting us last weekend, she brought along her kitchen torch and introduced me to the creamy awesomeness that is homemade creme brûlée. If you do not have a kitchen torch or do not care to purchase one, the sugar can also be caramelized in the oven. (Directions are included below.)
I can’t believe it took me so long to finally make creme brûlée at home. This turned out to be one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made!
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 vanilla beans split and scraped
- 1 cup sugar divided
- 6 large egg yolks
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine heavy cream and vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Let cool 15 minutes and remove vanilla bean. Whisk together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. (Reserve the remaining sugar.) Gradually pour the sugary egg mixture into the warm cream. Whisk to combine and then pour into oven proof individual serving dishes.*
- Place the filled dishes into an oven safe pan and fill with water to about halfway up the sides of each dish. Place on the middle oven rack and bake for 40 minutes. Carefully remove the very hot pan of water from the oven and let cool 10 minutes before transferring the custard dishes to the refrigerator to chill.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours and as long as 3 days. When ready to caramelize, set the dishes on a heat resistant surface and let them warm for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle each dish with about 1 tablespoon of sugar and then use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar. A good technique is to go over the top of the dish until most of the sugar has melted, then let that cool while you repeat with the other dishes. Then finish each dish with a second torching. Don't be afraid of slightly burning the tops, make sure you get the sugar good and bubbling. (If you do not have a kitchen torch and don't plan to purchase one, follow the tips below for caramelizing the top with the broiler in the oven.) Chill the finished creme brûlée once again until ready to serve. Enjoy!
How to caramelize creme brulee in the oven:
Move the top rack in your oven up as high as it will go. Place the ramekins in the oven on the top rack, and turn on the broiler. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes, rotating them frequently so that they broil evenly. Take them out when they are golden brown and bubbling.