If you think creme brulee is hard to make at home, you just need to read this recipe, follow it exactly, then declare yourself a dessert expert. It's just that simple. Simply Decadent Creme Brulee is simple to make at home and is a beautiful dessert that is sure to wow your family and friends.
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What kind of dishes do I need?
While I suppose you could make Creme Brulee in a larger flat pan, I've never seen it done. The charm of this dessert is the gratification each person gets when tapping on the bruleed sugar on top, revealing the creaminess underneath! Each dish should be about an inch high and about 4 inches in circumference, holding about a half cup. I also love the oval shaped ones ... so beautiful.
I can't even remember where I got mine, but here's a link for some creme brulee dishes that look just like mine. Use them for individual tarts, crumbles, baked eggs, and also for serving dishes for nuts or olives. They are multi-functional!
I love Dorie Greenspan's suggestion to put a jelly or jam in the bottom of each dish ... it's another surprise beyond the sugar tapping!
The keys to creme brulee success
- First of all, be sure to heat the cream and milk close to boiling. If you don't heat it amply, it will take much longer to bake in the oven. I found this out the hard way once when I didn't reread the instructions and didn't heat the cream and milk at all!
- When you add the eggs to the cream mixture, be sure to temper them. Tempering brings the eggs slowly to the same temperature as the hot cream mixture without scrambling them. To do this, adding small amounts of the cream mixture to the eggs, stirring constantly until it's all mixed together.
- A low oven temperature is necessary... like 200-degrees low! If the temperature is too high, the custards will cook too fast and the creamy texture will be compromised.
Put the eggs in a measuring cup with a spout (so it's easier to pour into the dishes) and mix them with the sugar.
SLOWLY add the cream mixture whisking all the time. It will get bubbles on top which won't affect the taste, of course, but if you don't want bubbles on top of your cremes, you can spoon them off or sometimes just pop them with a touch of your finger.
They need to bake slowly for about an hour, then let them cool to room temperature. You need to plan ahead because they will then need at least three hours in the refrigerator before serving. The cremes need to be very cold before brulee-ing.
Now let's talk about the brulee-ing part.
You can certainly purchase a small kitchen torch, but if you have camping gas cylinders, you can attach a torch to it. It works just as well. Another option is to use the broiler in your oven, but I won't even discuss it because I've never tried it. I'm too worried about messing up the cremes to risk that!
What kind of sugar to use
You can use granulated sugar, but after you've had creme brulee with a brown sugar topping like my daughter and I had in Paris, you will probably always want brown sugar.
Pay attention while brulee-ing! If you don't, you might end up with some darker spots like I did. Don't do what I did!
I love to garnish my Simply Decadent Creme Brulee with raspberries and mint, especially if I've put raspberry jelly in the bottom of the dish! Looks so delicious!
Other recipes you might like
- Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Compote
- Charred Lemon Caper Brussels Sprouts
- Insalata Nostrana- Radicchio Caesar Salad
Simply Decadent Creme Brulee
- 2 Tablespoons jam or jelly Raspberry is my favorite!
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- ½ cup whole milk
- 3 large egg yolks
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- brown sugar for the topping
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set your custard dishes on it. Spoon about a teaspoon of jam or jelly into each one and spread it evenly.
- Mix the cream and the milk together and bring to just under a boil.
- In a medium size bowl or measuring cup with a spout, whisk the egg yolks and sugar to blend. Whisking constantly, pour a small amount of the cream mixture into the eggs to temper them. Gradually add the rest of the cream mixture, whisking always. Add the vanilla.
- Pour the custard over the jam in the baking dishes, about a half cup in each.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes until the centers are just set. They should still wiggle a bit, but not be liquid at all.
- When the cremes are cool, cover them and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
- To caramelize the cremes, spread about 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar evenly onto each one. Using a torch, caramelize each one until it bubbles and browns. Let it cool briefly before serving.
- Garnish with raspberries and mint leaves.