Crème brulee is one of those desserts that many home bakers tend to shy away from. The name alone is a little intimidating.
My vanilla bean crème brulee recipe only contains 6 ingredients and with a couple of tips I have learned along the way, I believe you too can master this incredibly easy dessert.
I have been cooking and baking professionally for 20 years and the number one question people always want to know is what my favorite dessert is. Without a doubt, it is vanilla bean crème brulee.
It's hard to decide what I love most about this luscious dessert. Is it the caramelized, crackly topping or is it the rich, velvety custard underneath? Also, it's the perfect make-ahead dessert which I think we can all appreciate!
What is Crème Brulee?
Crème Brulee simply means "burnt cream" in French because of the hardened caramelized sugar topping. The custard consists of heavy cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt.
Crème Brulee Helpful Tips
- Tempering Egg Yolks: Many of you probably have never tempered eggs before. I do this a lot in the kitchen especially when I'm making custards. Tempering is basically combining two ingredients that are at two different temperatures, one hot and one cold. Because we are taking hot liquid and combining it with cold egg yolks, tempering is essential when making this crème brulee recipe. If we miss this important step, we will end up with bowl of scrambled eggs.
- Individual Ramekins: I love to use individual ramekins, preferably wide shallow ones because they bake evenly. My favorite part of a crème brulee is the caramelized sugar topping and shallow ramekins also allow for more surface area which means more crispy goodness.
- Water Bath: One important key in making a lusciously creamy crème brulee is to cook it in a water bath. A water bath is simply a pan you place in the oven and fill with hot or boiling water. The hot water fills the oven with moisture and helps prevent delicate desserts like cheesecakes from cracking. It also helps aid in the slow cooking process in which custards needs in order to achieve their creamy texture.
- Do NOT overbake: I have done this many times when baking crème brulee or other delicate desserts. The number one thing to look for in a finished crème brulee is the centers. The centers should be slightly jiggly and edges firm and set.
This delicious creamy vanilla bean crème brulee has only 6 ingredients. Because they are so easy to make, you can skip the fancy restaurant and make it in the comfort of your own home.
- 8 Large egg yolks
- 3 cups Heavy cream
- 2 ½ oz Granulated sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla bean paste
- ¼ tsp Salt
- Turbinado sugar, for topping
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place heavy cream and vanilla bean paste inside medium-size saucepan.
- Heat until cream begins to scald.
- Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in large bowl.
- Slowly whisk in hot cream into egg yolk mixture a little at a time.
- Once combined, strain through a fine sieve.
- Place 8 (4oz) ramekins inside a baking dish such as a sheet pan or casserole dish.
- Fill each ramekin, slightly below the rim.
- Place dish inside oven and with oven door open, fill baking dish with hot water halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until centers are slightly jiggly and edges are firm and set.
- Once ramekins have cooled, carefully remove from water bath and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight.
- Before serving, top each custard with 1 teaspoon of Turbinado sugar. Make sure to cover entire surface with sugar by gently shaking side to side.
- Using a kitchen torch, slowly burn sugar until a deep amber color.
- Serve with fresh berries.
I love to use turbinado sugar when I make crème brulee. It melts easily and gives this dessert an extra crispy shell to break into.
Keywords: french custard, crème brulee, vanilla bean, vanilla custard, custard