This creme brulee recipe is really easy to make. Creme brulee is a simple custard, made with nothing but eggs, cream, and sugar, along with a little vanilla.
To make creme brulee, you'll need some heatproof dishes called ramekins, shown in the picture here. You'll also need a creme brulee torch to caramelize the tops of the creme brulees when you're ready to serve them. You can even get a creme brulee set that includes the torch and the ramekins.
What follows is the complete creme brulee recipe. For a step-by-step demo, see How to Make Creme Brulee.
- 8 extra-large eggs
- 1/3 cup sugar, plus extra sugar for caramelizing
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup half-and-half
- Pre-heat oven to 300°F.
- Separate the eggs. We only use the yolks for making creme brulee. You can save the whites for other recipes, like making an egg-white omelet.
- Beat the eggs with a whisk for a minute or two, until they're very smooth.
- Add the sugar and whisk for about 2 more minutes, or until the the sugar is fully incorporated and the yolks are a pale shade of yellow. Now add the vanilla and whisk until blended.
- Add the cream and half-and-half and whisk until blended.
- Carefully pour the egg and cream mixture through a wire strainer into another bowl. Straining the custard filters out any eggy bits to ensure a nice, smooth consistency.
- Fill a large roasting pan with an inch or two of warm water, and place your empty ramekins into the pan. The water should come about halfway up the ramekins. Baking the custards in a water bath (called a bain-marie) keeps the air in the oven moist, and prevents the creme brulees from cracking.
- Carefully pour the custard into the ramekins. Fill all the ramekins about halfway, then top up each one a little at a time. That way, you won't run out of custard before they're all full.
- Transfer the roasting pan to the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the edges of the creme brulees are set but the centers just barely jiggle when you nudge the pan.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the creme brulees cool in the water bath for 30 minutes or so. Then remove the creme brulees, place them on a flat sheet pan or tray, cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
- About 20 minutes before you're ready to caramelize the tops, remove the creme brulees from the refrigerator.
- Gently dab away any moisture condensation on the creme brulee tops with a paper towel, being careful not to dent them.
- Sprinkle the tops of the creme brulees with granulated white sugar. Make sure you cover the whole surface, and swirl the ramekins to distribute the sugar evenly. Shake off any excess sugar.
- Ignite your torch and carefully apply the flame to the sugar, keeping it constantly in motion. The sugar will start to liquefy, and then turn caramel-colored. When a nice, hard glaze forms, you're done.
- Pop the creme brulees back into the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so before serving them, just to re-chill them after they've been heated by the torch.
- You can serve the creme brulees just as they are, and they'll be absolutely delicious. But a few fresh berries and a dusting of powdered sugar is a nice, elegant touch.