Monday, November 2, 2009

Creme Brulee

I am a creme brulee junkie.

Any time it's on a menu and I'm eating out I have to have it. In a pinch I'll settle for the overpriced Whole Foods version and in desperate times, I'll eat the mini creme brulee tarts that show up at work for some of our events from a caterer that is not really the real thing.

This weekend was my time to square my shoulders, march into the kitchen, and show the creme brulee monster that I'm boss by making it myself.

In the delusional hope that by making it myself and being able to make it at any time the lure of creme brulee might lose its power over me.

In a perfect world at least.

So even I found this easy enough to make on my own, but not so easy that I would whip it up at a moments notice on impulse. The biggest pain is really melting the sugar and pouring it over the custards. My mistake was pouring directly from the pan instead of spooning it over so the sugar covering over the custard required a bit of a good smack from the spoon to shatter the topping because I had poured it on pretty thick. But apart from that it was pretty good. And I'm sure it will be even better when I try it again tonight as I didn't really wait as long as I should have last night to let it cool before eating it.

The other thing I need to figure out is how to get the brulee to look a little more finished. The brulee on the other 3 custard cups had bits of undissolved brown sugar floating and this one just started to bubble from the beginning (which the other ones did not). Still, flaws aside, pretty yummy.

Better Homes & Gardens Complete Book of Baking

2 cups half and half or light cream
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar (for custard)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (for topping)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

  1. Place (4) 4 inch quiche dishes or oval or round  tart pans without removable bottoms in a 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Set aside.
  2. In a small heavy saucepan heat half and half or light cream over medium low heat just until bubbly. Set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl use a rotary beater or wire whisk to lightly beat egg yolks just until mixed. Then beat in the 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla, and salt just until combined. Slowly whisk or stir hot cream into egg mixture.
  4. Place baking pan with dishes on the oven rack. Pour egg mixture evenly into the dishes. Then pour boiling or hottest tap water into the pan around the dishes until it's halfway up the sides.
  5. Bake in 325 degree overn for 18-24 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center of each dish comes out clean. Remove dishes from water in pan. Cook on a wire rack, then cover and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
  6. Before serving, let custards stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a large heavy skillet. Heat skillet over medium high heat until sugar begins to melt, shakingskillet occasionally so sugar will melt evenly. Do not stir. Once sugar starts to melt, reduct heat to low; cook until sugar is completely melted and golden (3-5 minutes), stirring as needed.
  8. Spoon melted sugar quickly over custards in a lacy pattern or in a solid piece. If melted sugar starts to harden in pan, return pan to heat, stirring until sugar melts again. If it starts to form clumps, carefully stir in 1-2 teaspoons water. Serve immediately.


  1. That looks really yummy! I've never tried to make creme brulee at home, although I've made creme caramel a couple of times.

    This is the first time I've seen a recipe that has you carmelizing the sugar and then pouring it over. In all other recipes I've seen, sugar is sprinkled over top the finished custards and then browned with a kitchen torch or under the broiler. That might be easier because melted sugar is pretty temperamental.

  2. It would probably be easier but those giant chunks of sugar are so's like having a sucker on top of the custard in a way.

    Also, I think many people fear the thought of me armed with a torch. Myself included. :)

  3. That is a new way of making the topping for creme brulees ... but hey, if that is what makes u happiest, then I'm all for it! Love all kinds of creme brulees ... if only they wouldn't use all egg yolks .. hate having those extra egg whites hanging around till I can figure out what to do with them!

  4. Muneeba, wish they sold egg yolks by the container like they do with egg would be much easier for sure.

  5. I love creme brulee...and your take on it is really easy... I would love to try this ! Especially since there's no scary blow torch involved...

  6. Nat, I've got a recipe I should be posting around the 12th for another variation of Creme Brulee that is super easy (10 minutes tops) and tastes great too. I actually found that easier than this one.