How to Make Creme Brulee {and It's Not Hard}

February 1, 2018
Isn't Valentine's Day a time to share indulgent desserts with the ones you love?  And when I think deliciously indulgent dessert, I think Creme Brulee ... Rich.  Creamy.  Delicious.  And when it comes to how to make Creme Brulee?  It's not as hard as you think!
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Creme Brulee Image - Making rich, creamy, and delicious Creme Brulee is not as hard as you think!


Most people think of Creme Brulee as a complicated dessert.  But when it comes right down to it, Creme Brulee is truly a very simple dish made from four very simple little ingredients ...
... sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, and cream.

All it takes to bring these four simple ingredients together into a wonderfully indulgent, creamy dessert is a little patience and using top-quality ingredients.

But when it comes right down to it, Creme Brulee is truly a very simple dish made from four very simple little ingredients ... sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, and cream.

When these four little ingredients get beautifully and patiently brought together?  The creamy deliciousness hiding under the firm brulee'd sugar shell is simply divine.

And doing this truly isn't as hard as most people think.

Homemade Creme Brulee Image

Way way before I was a food blogger, elementary school teacher, and now food blogger-mom,  I used to work in the corporate world working on technology implementations.  And let me tell you, I attended more than my fair share of marathon business dinners.

Can you guess what one of my favorites desserts was to order?

Mmm hmmmm ... creme brulee.

It was only a matter of time before I was determined to learn how to make creme brulee myself at home.  And much to my surprise, I discovered that making creme brulee really isn't hard at all!  Truly ... patience and good ingredients ... and you're good to go.

Patience comes in when baking the custard.

And much to my surprise, I discovered that making creme brulee really isn't hard at all!  Truly ... patience and good ingredients ... and you're good to go.

You truly do need to bake it really "low and slow" ~ at a very, very low temperature, very slowly ... which includes using a water bath.  This is critical!  We're going for creamy custard here, not scrambled eggs.  Which incidentally, is kinda what you'll end up with if you rush the custard.

Okay ... so now that you know you need great ingredients {real cream, fresh eggs, pure vanilla extract} and patience, let's take a look at the not-so-hard process of how to make creme brulee.

Start by preparing your ramekins and baking pan...

Generously butter {with real butter} the inside of 6 individual ramekins and place them in a basic 9x13" baking dish.  Ramekins come in many shapes and sizes, and I prefer smaller-circumference ones that are a little deeper instead of larger-around, shallower ones.  This deeper type of ramekins lets me get a thicker layer of custard to scoop up and enjoy.

Now, my little trick is to line the baking dish with a paper towel.  Why? ...

How to Make Creme Brulee in Ramekins Image

... Because we're going to be filling that baking dish with a water bath.  

And the paper towel on the bottom underneath the ramekins keeps the ramekins from sliding around.  Which makes the entire set up much easier to handle when moving it in and out of the oven.  It's a simple step that really pays off big in making things easier.

Next, whisk together egg yolks and granulated sugar until the sugar dissolves ... thoroughly dissolves so you don't end up with grainy custard ...

How to Make Creme Brulee Custard Mixture image

... and then whisk in whipping cream.

How to Make Creme Brulee with Whipping Cream image

The custard mixture is ready!  Truly.  That's it.  {Not hard, right?}

Divide the custard mixture evenly between the 6 prepared ramekins ...

How to Make Creme Brulee photo

... place the baking dish in a preheated 275 degree oven, and create a water bath by pouring hot water {hot from the faucet} into the baking dish until the water reaches a level halfway up the side of the ramekins.

How to Make a Water Bath for Baking Creme Brulee image

Then bake.

Now, this is probably the hardest part about making creme brulee ... knowing when it's done. 

Typically, the custard is baked for about 45 to 50 minutes, but the time it takes is truly dependent on how deep the ramekins are.  Deeper ramekins will take longer than flatter, shallower ramekins.

You're looking for the custard to be set around the edges while still just a bit jiggly in the center.  Not soupy  in the center ... but a little jiggly.

The smaller circumference, bit deeper ones I used in this batch took about 60 minutes to bake.  So judge based on knowing you're looking for the custard to be set around the edges while still just a bit jiggly in the center.  Not soupy  in the center ... but a little jiggly.

After the custards are thoroughly cooled and chilled, it's time to make the brulee topping.

Sprinkle the top of each with granulated sugar ...
{You can use brown sugar instead, but I like using granulated sugar better.  For me, it seems to melt more easily and create a more uniform topping.}

What type of sugar to use for creme brulee topping image

Then comes my favorite part ... the kitchen torch!

Use a small kitchen torch to melt the sugar, creating the classic brulee'd topping of your creme brulee.

How to Make Creme Brulee sugar topping image

Briefly re-chill the custards before serving.  And then, dig into the rich indulgence of your creation!  Perfectly creamy.  Perfectly delicious.

And that, my friends, is how to make Creme Brulee.

Not hard at all, is  it?

How to Make Homemade Creme Brulee photo




Creme Brulee
Source:  Adapted from The Best Recipe by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine
(Printable recipe)
Ingredients
  • 1 T. butter, softened
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 T. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • additional granulated sugar for tops
  • fresh berries {optional}
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Generously butter the inside of 6 ramekins with softened butter. Line the bottom of a 9x13" glass baking dish with a paper towel. Place ramekins on top of the paper towel ~ this keeps the ramekins from sliding around in the baking dish.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks until slightly thickened. Add sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is pale-ish yellow. Add whipping cream and vanilla; whisk until well blended. Divide mixture evenly between the 6 prepared ramekins.
  3. Set baking dish in the oven and create a water bath by carefully pouring warm water (hot from the faucet) into the pan until it reaches halfway up ramekins. Bake uncovered until custard is set around the edges but still jiggly in the center, about 45 to 50 minutes. {Longer baking time may be needed for deeper ramekins.}
  4. Remove baking pan from oven and leave ramekins in water bath until cooled. Once cooled, remove ramekins from water bath, cover with plastic wrap, and chill at least 2 hours {and up to 2 days}.
  5. When ready to serve, sprinkle 2 teaspoons sugar over the top of each custard. Use a kitchen torch to melt the sugar. Rechill custards for just a few minutes before serving. {Don't do the brulee sugar topping much more than about 45 minutes before serving as it begins to deteriorate fairly quickly.}  Serve with fresh berries, if desired.
Enjoy!


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Please enjoy these other delicious desserts from The Kitchen is My Playground ...

Chocolate Crack Pie

Banana Pudding Cake

41 comments

  1. I love making Creme Brulee's. I don't even wait for a special occasion, I'll just make one for myself. Yum!

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  2. This recipe looks amazing! Can't wait to try it! I am just starting out in the blogging world, and aspire to post great things like this! Thanks! www.littlemissdexterous.com

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  3. I love creme brulee but never made it y myself, I thought that it's too difficult but you inspired me to try :)

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  4. I love creme brulee, Tracey. I might have to get one of those torches, just so I can make it for us at home. I enjoyed your post, as usual!

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  5. YUM! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

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  6. Your recipes always look so wonderful! My husband and I have been wanting to try this for a while, maybe we will finally get up the nerve. Thanks for sharing this with our Tips & Tricks Link Party friend!

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  7. Creme Brulee is my favorite dessert when I eat out. Thanks for sharing this. I may even be brave enough to try it at home now. Found your recipe at the Two Cup Tuesday Link Party. I am the hostesses of Tickle My Tastebuds and would love you to stop by and link up this recipe. Here is the link
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    Lori

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  8. Creme brulee is one of my all time favourite desserts - I definitely am craving one right now after seeing this post!

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  9. Okay, I'm going to have to try this. You're right, it doesn't seem as hard as I thought it would be. I've never actually had creme brûlée before, so I will have to try it. Thanks for linking up to Tips and Tricks. Hope to see you again this week. Kathleen @ Fearlessly Creative Mammas

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  10. Hello beautiful! This looks so amazing. I can't wait to try it. Pinned and tweeted. Thank you for being a part of our party and we hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm. We can't wait to party with you! Happy Valentines' Day! Lou Lou Girls

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  11. I've never had crème brulee before, it does look very nice. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!!

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  12. So pretty and looks wonderful. I have never tried it!

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  14. My husband is going to be so happy when I make this for him! Thanks for sharing at Friday Frenzy Link Party! Pinned!!

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  15. So, this is my all-time favorite dessert...well, except for lemon meringue pie...but that's a whole other story! Creme brûlée will win my heart over any day!!!

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  16. I just need to get over it and make Creme Brûlée. I don't know why it scares me but it does! Thanks for linking up to the Friday Frenzy!

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  17. You are my new favorite person for this recipe (and my husband's favorite person because he will be able to play with fire). Haha. I'll be pinning and saving this for later. Have a happy day, friend.

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