Creme Brulee is a fancy dessert that tastes lovely and doesn’t require much effort. Your guest will be so impressed when you serve this classic dessert.
I know some of you are intimidated by the thought of making creme brulee but it isn’t as hard as you think. It consists of a rich vanilla custard base with a thin crisp caramelized sugar top and is usually served in individual ramekins.
Easy Creme Brulee
Can you believe you only need four ingredients to make this. You will only need heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. That is it!
I am always surprised just how easy this impressive dessert is to make. The hardest part is just sprinkling the sugar evenly over the top so it would caramelize evenly. If you haven’t given it a try yet, you should.
I make this recipe for birthdays and our anniversary because it’s easy but feels so fancy.
- Heavy cream: this helps to make a nice and thick custard
- Granulated sugar: the sweetness for the custard and you’ll use some to toast on the top
- 1 vanilla bean: this adds so much rich flavor, I love splurging on a vanilla bean but you can read in the notes how to use vanilla extract instead
- Egg yolks: this recipe uses loads of egg yolks! Save those whites to make something like macrons or meringue cookies.
How to Make Creme Brulee
- Your are going to LOVE how easy this recipe is.
- Just mix up your cream and sugar and let it warm on the stove. Throw in that vanilla bean and let it steep so all that vanilla flavor infuses into the liquid.
- Beat up your egg yolks and add some of the warm cream and then stir it all back intogether.
- Place this custard base in your ramekins on a baking sheet.
- Place them in the oven and add water to the pan so that the ramekins are sitting in it. Bake.
- Let cool and then stick in the fridge.
- When you want to serve, add sugar on top, use a torch to cook the sugar, and serve. SO much fun!
Frequently Asked Questions
To get that highly desired creme brulee top you can do a couple of things. You can put the creme brulee on a baking sheet and set the oven to broil for a couple of minutes. Or you can use a kitchen torch to get a nice even top.
Creme brulee is typically served cold but has a warm top.
Creme brulee is a dessert that can be made ahead of time. However, it is best if eaten within 3 days. Just save doing the sugar topping until no more than 30 minutes before you plan to serve it.
The eggs are completely cooked in creme brulee. They are baked in a water bath instead of being cooked on the stove.
Why is it called creme brulee?
Creme brûlée is a French word that means “burnt cream”. Sign. Me. Up.
Brulee torch information:
You’ll need a brulee torch for this recipe and while it’s a specialty kitchen gadget, I make creme brulee often enough to justify it! I have this creme brulee torch from Amazon. You can find them in most kitchen supplies stores and even Target. Look for one that use butane as the fuel, is refillable, and has options to adjust the flame. My kids love helping with step, it’s very exciting for everyone.
More custard desserts
If you’ve tried this creme brule recipe or any other recipe on Barbara Bakes, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some pictures of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories.
Creme Brulee Recipe
- 4 cups heavy cream chilled
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1 vanilla bean halved lengthwise
- 10 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup turbinado sugar
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Cover the bottom of a roasting pan with a dish towel.
- Arrange eight 6-ounce ramekins in the pan, making sure they don't touch.
- Combine 2 cups of the cream, the granulated sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the pan with the pod. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Off the heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining 2 cups cream.
- Place the yolks in a large bowl and slowly whisk in 1 cup of the cream mixture until smooth. Whisk in the remaining cream mixture until thoroughly combined. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup or pitcher. Pour the custard evenly into the ramekins.
- Bring a kettle of water to a boil
- Place the pan in the oven and carefully pour enough boiling water into the pan to reach two-thirds of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the centers of the custards are just barely set and are no longer sloshy, 30 to 35 minutes (25 to 30 minutes for shallow fluted dishes) and up to an hour for deeper dishes, just make sure the middles don't slosh when you gently move the pan).
- Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours.
- Just before serving, uncover the ramekins and gently blot the tops dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle each ramekin with 1-2 teaspoons turbinado sugar, then shake the ramekin to spread the sugar in an even layer. Pour out any excess sugar and wipe away from the inside rim of the ramekin. Ignite a torch and caramelize the sugar. Refrigerate the ramekins, uncovered, to rechill the custards, 30 to 45 minutes (but no longer). Serve.
- e sure to burn the sugar topping on the creme brulee just before serving. If done too far in advance (more than a half hour or so), the caramelized sugar topping will soften and eventually turn to liquid caramel. For a real show, do it in front of your guests and don't worry about chilling a second time.
- After sprinkling the sugar over the surface of the custard, tilt and tap the ramekin to distribute the sugar in a thin, even layer
- To caramelize the sugar, sweep the flame from the perimeter of the custard toward the middle, keeping the flame about 2 inches above the ramekin. The sugar is properly caramelized when bubbling and deep golden brown.
- Not surprisingly, a vanilla bean imparts the deepest amount of flavor to custard, but 2 teaspoons of extract, whisked into the yolks in step 3, can be used instead. I skip the steaming step if I’m not using a vanilla bean.
- For the caramelized sugar crust, we recommend turbinado sugar (sometimes sold as Sugar in the Raw), which is available at most grocery stores and gourmet food shops. Regular granulated sugar will work in a pinch, but use only 1 teaspoon per custard.
- If using shallow ramekins, which normally hold 4 to 5 ounces, you may find that you have enough custard base for an extra one or two custards.
I hope you try your hand at making Easy Creme Brulee with its delicious custard and cartelized sugar top. It is surprisingly simple and is sure to impress your friends.