This silky smooth Crème Brûlée is made with 6 simple ingredients, and it’s the creamiest and most delicious dessert ever! It takes 15 minutes to prep and is super easy! Follow my tips below for perfect results!
I use to have to go to one of my favorite upscale restaurants to enjoy a good homemade Crème Brûlée. I always assumed it was too time-consuming to make. Boy, oh boy, was I wrong! Not only is it easy to make, but it’s SO much cheaper to make at home.
Brûlée is french and means burnt! Crème Brûlée consists of a rich custard filling that’s covered with a layer of hardened crystallized sugar. All you need is a spoon to break through the crisp caramelized sugar topping and reveal the rich creamy custard filling underneath. It’s one of those luxurious desserts that you feel you should save for a special occasion, but in all honestly, you’ll be wanting to make this easy dessert quite often!
THREE EASY STEPS BEHIND MAKING IT…
- Make the custard: Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a large mixing bowl and mix to combine. Meantime, heat the whipping cream in a saucepan until it’s simmering, not boiling. Add the vanilla and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the hot cream in a steady stream to the egg mixture. Don’t turn the mixer off or the hot cream will cook the egg yolks. The process of slowly adding the hot cream to the eggs while the mixer is running is called tempering the eggs.
- Bake the custard: Distribute the custard evenly between 6 ramekins, filling all the way to the top. Add boiling water to the pan, about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the custards are set around the edges and slightly jiggly in the centers. Mine were done in 30 minutes. Chill the custards for at least 4 hours before torching.
- Torch: Spread the sugar evenly over the top of each chilled ramekin. Caramelize the tops with a kitchen torch or under a broiler. Allow the custards to sit at room temperature for a couple of minutes for the caramelized sugar to get hard.
Make sure you remember to spread the sugar over the top before you try torching it. Not that yours truly forgot. 🙂
- Ramekin sizes: The best ramekin sizes for crème brûlée are wide shallow ones. You want them to be wide, so you have plenty of surface area on top for sugar. You want them to be shallow, so you have a perfect proportion of caramelized sugar to custard. I use round ramekins that are 1-inch deep.
- Hot water bath: Don’t skip this step. Besides, it’s easy! The steam from the water bath ensures that the custards will be silky smooth, and ultra-creamy.
- Tempering egg yolks: Tempering egg yolks is not more than slowly whisking the hot mixture into the egg yolks a little at a time, so you don’t cook or scramble the egg yolks. That’s what we are doing in this recipe when we slowly add the hot cream to the egg yolks while the mixer is running. This can also be done by whisking a small amount of the hot mixture into the eggs, then adding the egg and cream mixture back to the remaining hot cream.
- Removing the Chalaza: What the heck is that?? The chalaza is that little white thing that is attached to the egg yolk. It’s actually full of protein. However, some cooks prefer to remove it from the egg yolks when making smooth custards and puddings. It’s totally up to you if you want to remove them or leave them.
- Chilling the custards: It’s extremely important to chill the custards for at least 4 hours before caramelizing the sugar on top. If the custards aren’t very chilled and firm, they will become too runny/unstable when you caramelize the sugar on top of them.
- Baking time: Don’t overbake. The custards are done when the edges are set and the centers are still slightly jiggly. The centers will finish setting up as they cool. So don’t think they’re not done, when the centers jiggle. They’re done!
This silky smooth Crème Brûlée is the creamiest and most delicious dessert ever! Made with 6 simple ingredients and pure vanilla flavor, it’s simply the best!!
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 6 tablespoons for tops
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Add the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed just to combine. Meanwhile, scald the milk in a saucepan. The milk should be very hot to the touch with small bubbles forming around the edges, but not boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla and salt. Turn the mixer on low and very slowly add the hot cream in a slow and steady stream to the egg mixture. Note, it’s important to add the hot cream very slowly with the mixer running. Otherwise, the hot cream will cook the eggs. This is called “tempering” the eggs.
- Place 6 ramekins in a large baking pan. I used my half sheet cake pan, but use what works for you. Depending on the size of your ramekins, a 9 x 13 will generally work. Divide the custard filling equally between the 6 ramekins, filling them almost to the very top. Don’t worry, they won’t overflow. As they bake the custard filling will shrink down some. Pull the oven rack about halfway out and place the pan on it. Carefully pour boiling water into one corner of the pan, until the water is about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Make sure you don’t splash the water into the ramekins. Very carefully, slide the oven rack back into place. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the custards are set around the edges and slightly jiggly in the centers. Don’t overbake! Slide a metal slotted spatula under each ramekin and transfer them from the hot water to a towel. Allow the custards to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until the custards are very chilled and firm.
- To serve, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the top of each ramekin. Use your finger to make sure the sugar is evenly distributed. Use a kitchen torch to carmelize the sugar evenly. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, place them under your oven broiler. Don’t take your eyes off of them!! Allow them to sit at room temperature for a couple of minutes until the sugar hardens.
- Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers. Crème Brûlée needs to be eaten the day it’s torched. Once it’s torched and refrigerated, the filling will separate overnight and it’s not very good the following day.
- Ramekins: Shallow wide ramekins are the best to use. Oval or round will work. The wider the better, so you have more surface to spread the sugar on. I use ramekins that are 1-inch deep and round.
- Oven Broiler Alternative: If you don’t have a kitchen torch, don’t worry. You can spread the sugar on the ramekin tops, place the ramekins on a cookie sheet and place them under the broiler until they are caramelized. Broil on high while watching them very closely.
- Heavy Cream: Not to be confused with half & half. Make sure to use heavy whipping cream in this recipe. Half & half will result in a more runny and less rich filling.
- Make ahead: You can make bake the custards up to 2 days in advance. Cool to room temperature, cover tightly and refrigerate. On the day of, torch the tops and serve.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.
Keywords: creme brulee, Crème Brûlée,