Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

I have requested a kitchen blow torch from my hubby and kids for a good three years for my birthday and Christmas. I adore crème brûlée and always order it if a restaurant offers it while I'm out for dinner. It is seriously my absolute favorite dessert on the planet.

For Mother's Day this year, they finally got me a blow torch so that I could make crème brûlée at home. I had made it many years ago, but had to use my oven broiler to attempt to achieve that crackled sugar top. Frankly, I just always thought that a blow torch would make the process much more fun and me a more legit maker of crème brûlée. (I know - that sounds so corny.)

Crème brûlée, also, happens to be one of my kids' favorite desserts. We usually just order one and share it while we're out to eat, so you can easily conclude that I only get two or three bites. (The moms out there know what I'm talking about.) We were all looking forward to making this dessert at home so that we could each have our own! This recipe yields six individual servings.

The hardest part of the recipe is waiting for the custard to completely chill before topping it with sugar, torching the heck of it and cracking it open with a spoon.


4 cups heavy cream
1 whole vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon good-quality vanilla extract
10 egg yolks
3/4 cup white sugar
Pinch of kosher salt

Additional sugar for topping custard


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Have six ramekins ready on a large, rimmed baking sheet.

Cut the vanilla bean in half (if using) and scrape out the "caviar." Combine the vanilla bean caviar (or extract) with the heavy cream in a medium sauce pan set over medium heat. Heat just to a simmer, but do not boil.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, the 3/4 cup of sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl until the mixture becomes pale yellow and thick. (This can be done with an electric mixer, but a hand whisk works just fine.)

Very slowly, incorporate by drizzling about 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture while whisking vigorously. Once egg mixture is tempered, continue to add in the remaining cream mixture slowly and whisk until all is well-combined.

Strain custard mixture through a fine mesh strainer into another bowl if desired. Ladle the mixture equally into ramekins.

Transfer baking sheet of ramekins to oven. Pour in enough boiling water to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until custard is set around the edges, but still just slightly soft and jiggly in the center. It is important that the custard does not brown.

Carefully transfer ramekins to a cooling rack. (Tongs in one hand and an oven mitt in the other works great for this step.) Once cooled, cover ramekins with plastic wrap and allow to chill in refrigerator for, at least, three hours. (I prefer overnight.)

When ready to serve, sprinkle on a thin layer of sugar and caramelize using a blow torch. The sugar will become bubbly and will crackle with a spoon once cooled.

Serve immediately. Perfect with fresh berries.

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  1. Heck yes! So glad you got that blowtorch and can finally have your own serving :) It is sooooo good, and even better homemade, for some reason!

    1. My kids think I'm SuperMom with that thing ... they were in awe watching me torch their crème brûlée! HA! :) And, yes, I thoroughly enjoyed having one ALL TO MYSELF! :)

  2. Really great! I’m 12 and I always love French foods.