Creme Brulee

Three years ago today, Brown Eyed Baker was born with a short little write-up and small picture about my favorite Italian Wedding Soup. My, how we’ve grown! I wanted to celebrate three years of fabulous food and fun with a favorite dessert that has yet to make its way to the site. While I usually always have a hankering for rich and decadent desserts like flourless chocolate cakes and creamy cheesecakes, when out to dinner I am often drawn to creme brulee to cap off my meal. I’m not sure if it has a fancy mystique that only calls to me when out to a restaurant, but it’s a treat that I always thoroughly enjoy. Pushing the spoon through the thin layer of caramelized sugar and watching it shatter like a piece of glass is a splendid moment. Something about that crisp sheet of sugar paired with the cool, smooth custard makes my taste buds dance like bumbling bees on a blooming flower.

Given my love for creme brulee while dining out, I decided that making it at home would be the perfect way to ring in Brown Eyed Baker’s third anniversary. So, three years, wow! Time really does fly when you’re having fun. I’ve been having a wonderful time baking, learning and sharing and want to thank you all for coming along for the ride with me. I’m looking forward to sharing even more fabulous food and adventures with you!

Care to reminisce with me? I’d love to hear about your favorite Brown Eyed Baker recipe, or perhaps how you first stumbled upon the site.

Creme Brulee

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


4 cups heavy cream, chilled
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of table salt
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
12 large egg yolks
8-12 teaspoons turbinado sugar or Demerara sugar


Some notes on the recipe:

♦ Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks after the cream has finished steeping; if let to sit, the surface of the yolks will dry and form a film.

♦ A vanilla bean gives custard the deepest flavor, but 2 teaspoons of extracts, whisked into the yolks in step 4, can be used instead.

♦ The best way to judge doneness is with a digital instant-read thermometer.

♦ You can substitute regular granulated sugar for the crust, but only use 1 scant teaspoon on each ramekin.

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Combine 2 cups cream, sugar, and salt in medium saucepan; with paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into pan, submerge pod in cream, and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves. Take pan off heat and let steep 15 minutes to infuse flavors.

3. Meanwhile, place kitchen towel in bottom of large baking dish or roasting pan and arrange eight 4- to 5-ounce ramekins (or shallow fluted dishes) on towel. Bring kettle or large saucepan of water to boil over high heat.

4. After cream has steeped, stir in remaining 2 cups cream to cool down mixture. Whisk yolks in large bowl until broken up and combined. Whisk about 1 cup cream mixture into yolks until loosened and combined; repeat with another 1 cup cream. Add remaining cream and whisk until evenly colored and thoroughly combined. Strain through fine-mesh strainer into 2-quart measuring cup or pitcher (or clean medium bowl); discard solids in strainer. Pour or ladle mixture into ramekins, dividing it evenly among them.

5. Carefully place baking dish with ramekins on oven rack; pour boiling water into dish, taking care not to splash water into ramekins, until water reaches two-thirds height of ramekins. Bake until centers of custards are just barely set and are no longer sloshy and digital instant-read thermometer inserted in centers registers 170 to 175 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes (25 to 30 minutes for shallow fluted dishes). Begin checking temperature about 5 minutes before recommended time.

6. Transfer ramekins to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Set ramekins on rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.

7. Uncover ramekins; if condensation has collected on custards, place paper towel on surface to soak up moisture. Sprinkle each with about 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (1½ teaspoons for shallow fluted dishes); tilt and tap ramekin for even coverage. Ignite torch and caramelize sugar. Refrigerate ramekins, uncovered, to re-chill, 30 to 45 minutes (but no longer); serve.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)


45 Responses to “Creme Brulee”

  1. Heather (Heather's Dish) on February 11, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    creme brulee is amazing…the combination of textures is so cool and so good! love this recipe…hopefully i can make it for a crowd on Valentine’s Day!?!


  2. Angela@spinachtiger on February 11, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I can hear the crackle as the spoon enters the brulee. Congrats to three years of great blogging.


  3. Christina on February 11, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Wonderful blog, and many congratulations on your third blog birthday! I’ve enjoyed reading and look forward to another year of tasty food.

    I haven’t ever had creme brulee before, I feel like I’m missing something because of the fact. Sounds like a great recipe!


  4. Books n' Cooks on February 11, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Happy blogaversery!


  5. Alissa on February 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Wow, thanks for posting! I think I might just make this for my hubby for his upcoming birthday!


  6. Risa on February 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I’ve never tasted creme brûlée, now excuses. Happy Blogiversary to youuuu!


  7. Pamela on February 11, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    I LOVE creme brulee! I don’t remember how I came across the Brown Eyed Baker; I just know I’m glad I did. 🙂 I think my favorite (and the most dangerous) recipe I’ve tried thus far is the coffee/cappuccino cheesecake!


  8. Eliana on February 11, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I think this is my new favorite. Whenever I see creme brulee it tugs at my heart because it’s my husband’s favorite dessert. I love your beautiful crispy edges. Happy blogoversary. I look forward to another year of wonderful blog posts.


  9. Meghan on February 11, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Congrats on 3 years!! That is quite an accomplishment! I love creme brulee! I don’t think I can remember exactly how I found your site, but I have been a regular reader ever since. I have made so many of your recipes so to narrow it down is hard. One that pops out is the Double chocolate biscotti where you added the white chocolate chips instead of nuts. I’m allergic to nuts so I was so happy to see that substitution and it was a delicious one! Those were the favorite thing I made for my holiday gift packages this year. I also love the pizza crust recipe and chicken parmesan. Here’s to many more years of Brown Eyed Baker! 🙂 🙂 🙂


  10. gaga on February 11, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Oh yummy! I’m such a sucker for creme brulee. I just HAVE to order it every time I see it.


  11. Lori on February 11, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Congratulations on 3 years! I don’t comment very often, but your spaghetti and meatballs are legendary in my house!! Everyone I’ve ever served them too has said those meatballs are the absolute best they’ve ever had!!


  12. themilkmanswife on February 11, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Happy blogaversary! Keep up the awesome work! 🙂


  13. Tracey on February 11, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Congratulations on 3 years!! What an accomplishment. Sadly, I’ve never had creme brulee – I really need to rectify that soon 🙂


  14. Bakingwithoutabox on February 11, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Happy Blogaversary! Keep up the great stuff. Like this! Mmmm….


  15. Kristine on February 11, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Yum! I’ve been wanting to make a chocolate creme brulee for awhile now, but this looks yummy too! Congrats on three years of blogging! Your site inspires me!


  16. Katie on February 11, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Congrats on three years! I’m extra excited about this post because I’ve been looking for a good creme brulee recipe for a while now. I stumbled across your site a few months ago and was surprised to see you’re in the Burgh. I’m originally from the area and went to college there, so I’ll always be a Pittsburgh girl at heart. Keep up the good work! P.S. I love the Steelers cookies. 🙂


  17. Pennies On a Platter on February 11, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Congrats!! You have come the distance for sure!! Your blog is fantastic and an inspiration. 🙂 How DID I come across it?? It’s been so long, I just can’t remember!

    Thanks for all the fantastic posts!


  18. Mary Poppins in Heels on February 11, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Congratulations! I can’t remember how I found you, but I’m so glad that I did!


  19. jennifer on February 12, 2010 at 2:18 am

    congrats on your anniversary! i’m so glad to have found your blog with all of your amazing recipes and photos!! looking forward to following you a long time to come! 🙂


  20. shelly (cookies and cups) on February 12, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Looks great!


  21. The Cookie Girl on February 12, 2010 at 8:46 am

    HAppy 3 years to you! Creme Brulee isn’t something I make often but I love it.


  22. Jeanne on February 12, 2010 at 10:29 am

    This looks like the perfect excuse to go buy a kitchen torch! I can’t remember what first brought me to your site, but I’ve been a loyal follower for a while now. Congrats on 3 years!


  23. Jelli on February 12, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I looove creme brulee, and like you, was first introduced via restaurant dining. My favorite creme brulee is always chocolate. Yummy!


  24. Jessica @ How Sweet It Is on February 12, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Congrats on 3 years, girl! 🙂


  25. Maria & Lisa on February 12, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Congrats on the anniversary!
    We LOVE your blog and have been fans for about a year!
    Good luck in the future.


  26. B on February 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Happy anniversary!


  27. Katrina on February 12, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    3 years?? AWESOME! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate. Creme brule? YUM!


  28. Kerstin on February 13, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Happy Blogiversary!!! And congrats on 3 years!!


  29. Teddie-Ann on February 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Mmmm, I’ve never ever had creme brulee but I’ve never had a yearning to try it either…until now. lol

    Congratulations – keep up the stellar work!!!


  30. Sana on February 14, 2010 at 3:13 am

    congrats on 3 years! I came to your website through annies website and love it since then. Have made a lot of your recipes, the upside down pineapple cake and chocolate pistachio biscotti being my favorite!


  31. Sinful Southern Sweets on February 14, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    I love your blog! I can’t wait to try this. Creme Brule is on my to make list!! Thanks!


  32. Sasha on February 14, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Love your creme brulee photos. I make a lot of creme brulee for my blog in every flavor imaginable, but your photos take the cake. Nice job.


  33. BNDQ8 on February 23, 2010 at 10:22 am

    happy anniversary…i love ur recipes…i heart creme brulee…and urs look to die for!! 🙂


  34. Baking is my Zen on March 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I’m making a cake this week for Sweet Melissa Sundays (SMS) and it calls for 15 egg whites. I thought about using the egg yolks in a Creme Brulee. This recipe calls for almost the amount of yolks I will have on hand. So, I’ll give this a whirl!


  35. Becca on May 16, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Made this for my mom on mother`s day and it was a HUGE hit!! Plus the tips were super helpful! So yummy – thx!


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  37. Bruce on January 13, 2011 at 10:37 am

    These look so good!!


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  41. LanaM on February 6, 2014 at 3:57 am

    I’m french and I love your blog. All your recipes seem to be so delicious 🙂
    I’m glad to see that you better know the crème brûlée recipe than french people! Sometimes it’s really weird because they include the whole eggs (that’s a “crème aux oeufs”), or butter (aaww…).
    For me the perfect one should be cold with only the caramelized crust which is hot. I don’t make crème brûlée because I don’t have the good welding torch to burn it. Actually the good one is only for professionals and is really big.
    Keep it up!


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