Creme Brulee​

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The Creme Brûlée. This dessert is one of my favourite’s! It is a cold sweet set vanilla cream that has a crunchy caramelised sugar crust on top!

I think it’s the finishing of the sugar crust that does it for me because of the slight warming of the top of the desert! Which creates a lovely hot and cold sensation when you eat it!

The first mention of a creme brûlée is from a French cookbook from 1691. In 1702 the English crudely translated this to ‘burnt cream’. It kind of vanished from cookbooks until the 1980s.

Although a version of this dessert, the ‘trinity cream’, appeared in the Trinity College in Cambridge in the late 1800s. The difference here is that the dessert is finished with a hot Branding rod. Which creates the sugar crust.

There is an earlier recording which perhaps is the father of the creme brûlée. Called the creme Catalana. This recipe dates from the 14th Century Catalana and has the same iconic finish, caramelised sugar crust over a sweet set cream. The difference, however, is that the flavouring is lemon zest and cinnamon rather than vanilla.

The creme brulee in the modern day

The creme brûlée is a fairly complex recipe which requires some skill. Mainly because of the Bain marine. Having said that, if you pay attention to the temperature of your oven and the timing you will be fine!

Although the creme brulee is my favourite dessert, I rarely eat it when dining out! Even when I do Becky tells me not to! This is because some people have taken to putting Gelatin in the Creme brûlée which completely changes the texture! I remember going to a little independent restaurant where I ordered one thinking the creme brûlée would be amazing! It wasn’t! Disappointed was not the word!

Taking simple ingredients and creating something magnificent is something that a good home cook or chef should be able to do. For me creating a perfect creme brulee is the exact example of that!

Recipe for the Creme Brûlée

So here is my recipe for a creme brulee, follow this and I assure you that 90% of creme brulee that you will eat in restaurants will disappoint you… I apologize in advance!

For this Creme Brûlée recipe you will need;

  • 6 egg yolks
  • one vanilla bean (get the best you can find)
  • 500ml of single Cream
  • 200g unrefined caster Sugar
  • Extra unrefined caster for dusting

making the vanilla cream

Vanilla for a creme brulee

To start your creme Brûlée, you will need to make a slit in the vanilla pod lengthways.

Making sure that you don’t cut through to the other side of the pod!

Using the back of a knife or a palette knife scrape out all of the seeds of the vanilla pod. Save the seeds and the pod itself for later.

Unrefined sugar

weigh out 100 grams of unrefined castor sugar. You will need to do this twice. As you will need 100grams for your egg yolks and 100 grams for your cream mixture. 

Separating eggs

Next, crack open the eggs and separating the whites and the yolk into different bowls. The best way to do these is to pass the yolk between the two halves of the egg shell.

Save the egg whites for later, you can use these to whip up a meringue or a super healthy (and super boring!) Ommlette!

Vanilla seeds

Next, over a low to medium heat, pour in the single cream and 100grams of sugar, the vanilla seeds and the empty vanilla pod into a heavy saucepan. Allow to heat slowly!

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whisking eggs and sugar

ribbon eggs

In a separate bowl and add the remaining 100 grams of unrefined sugar and egg yolks. Using a whisk, whisk  until your mix goes to a pale yellow colour. When you life out your whisk your mixture should sit on top of its self briefly. This is known as a ribbon consistency.

There isn’t much to do in the second part of making a creme brûlée. However it is important to understand it is made in two and you add the parts together. 

Adding the cream to the eggs

Making a creme brulee

Once the cream mixture for your creme brulee has started to simmer, remove the vanilla pod and add the cream to the whisked egg yolk slowly. Do not stop whisking while you are adding the cream to the eggs.

uncooked creme brulee

One it is incorporated, take a large baking tray and place 4 serving dishes inside of it.

Pour you Creme brûlée mixture into the serving bowls, making sure to scrap all of those lovely vanilla seeds into the dishes! Make sure you leave a slight gap at the top of your baking dish!

Baine Marie

Add water to the tray making sure that you leave a gap of about 1cm from the top of your Creme Brulee’s. 

"Leave a gap of about 1cm from the top of your Creme Brulee's"

Place the baking tray into your oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Once your Creme Brûlée’s has finished cooking. Take them out and let them cool completely In the fridge Don’t worry if they aren’t properly set. They will be once they have cooled!

cramelising sgar with a blow torch

Once your creme brulee are cool, dust the top with sugar. Using a cook’s blow torch caramelise the sugar on top.

If you are unsure about using a blow torch, just pop them underneath a preheated grill on full power until the sugar caramelises.

Thats it! Really easy once you know how! Let me know in the comments box below what you  thoughts and feeling are!

Catch the how-to Video here!

Play Video

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