A creamy, silky vanilla custard topped with crisp sugar crust is one of the most popular desserts at restaurants for good reason.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day so I am sharing how to make a restaurant-quality creme brulee at home. You are going to WOW your special someone with this dessert. It is a silky smooth, vanilla custard topped with a sugar crust. It is the richest, creamiest, luxurious dessert!
I hear many people tell me they are intimidated by making homemade creme brulee. It is actually much easier than you would think! Just set aside the time to let the custard chill and that may be the hardest part.
I will break down all of the steps to help you be successful in the kitchen. You are going to fall in love with this creme brulee!
How to make the best Creme Brulee:
- Bring to a boil heavy cream, sugar, vanilla bean, and a pinch of salt. This is an important step as it helps to dissolve the sugar, which is imperative for a silky smooth custard. Take off the heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes.
- After the cream has steeped, stir in remaining heavy cream. This recipe calls for only egg yolks, instead of just eggs. This creates a rich creme brulee. Add small amounts of the heavy cream to the egg yolk mixture in order to temper it. If all of the cream is added at once, it may cook the egg yolks.
- Pour into 4 or 5-ounce ramekins and place in a large baking dish or roasting pan. Heat water to a boil. Carefully pour the hot water into baking dish to reach two-thirds up sides of ramekins.
- Bake until the centers of custards are barely set. It is important to set aside enough time for the creme brulees to chill at room temperature and then in the refrigerator.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle with sugar. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar.
Baking essentials to make Creme Brulee:
- 4 or 5-inch ramekins
- Kitchen Torch — this is what caramelizes the sugar and give it the crisp exterior
- Vanilla Bean Paste
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If you want to find ideas on how to make Valentine’s Day special for kids click HERE.
Tips and tricks for making silky smooth, creamy creme brulee
- 4 cups Heavy Cream (divided)
- 1 Vanilla Bean (scraped or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste)
- 3/4 cup Sugar (plus more for top)
- 9 large Egg Yolks
- pinch Salt
In a medium saucepan, add 2 cups of heavy cream, vanilla bean, extract, or paste, and sugar. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to dissolve sugar. Take off heat, cover with lid, and let steep for 15 minutes.
Place eight 4 or 5-inch ramekins in a large baking dish or roasting pan. Bring some water to a boil (this will be to put around the ramekins to slowly cook them).
After the cream has steeped, stir in remaining 2 cups of heavy cream. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks together. Slowly add small amounts of cream to the egg yolks and keep whisking. Add remaining cream and stir. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Divide mixture evenly among ramekins. Carefully pour hot water into the baking dish making sure not to get any water into the ramekins. Pour enough water into large baking dish to reach two-thirds up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 33-40 minutes or until temperature reaches 175 degrees. The centers will be barely set.
Let cool for 2 hours at room temperature. After cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours.
When almost ready to serve, sprinkled chilled creme brulees with about 2 teaspoons of sugar, evenly covering the tops. Using a kitchen torch, let the heat dissolve the sugars and create an outer sugar shell. Once complete, return to refrigerator to chill for 30-40 minutes.
- Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen. I changed the egg yolks from 10 to 9, gave an option of vanilla bean paste, added more sugar, and upped the baking time.