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Crème Brûlée

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  • Prep 20 min
  • Total 7 hr 0 min
  • Servings 4
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Crème Brûlée is a graceful and sophisticated dessert that’s bound to make an impression. Eggs, cream, sugar and vanilla are all it takes to put it together, but through a spark of creativity—and a literal open flame—it becomes a one-of-a-kind symphony of tastes and textures.

Originally developed in the 17th century at the Palace of Versaille, Crème Brûlée was explicitly designed from the beginning to be a symbol of wealth and indulgence. Mission accomplished. Rich, velvety custard acts as the base and would be a spectacular dessert all on its own. But the main event is the caramelized shell of sugar that transforms it into an experience. Breaking that sweet barrier is like unwrapping a present, and the resulting brittle shards create a uniquely indulgent crunch that melds with the custard in an unforgettable symphony of tastes.

It's no surprise that fine restaurants regularly serve bruléed custard after multi-course dinners or as a grand finale for brunch. It has that perfect combination of elegant complexity and familiar accessibility that makes it a hit with a wide range of diners. But you don’t have to be a Michelin star caliber chef to pull it off. The Betty Crocker Kitchen has simplified those traditional techniques to allow you to transform humble ingredients into a stunning spectacle fit for royalty.

Julia Child believed that every woman should own a blowtorch. If you’re lucky enough to have one, this easy Crème Brûlée recipe is the perfect time to break it out. And if not, there’s no reason this recipe should be out of reach. The broiler can be a perfect stand-in, to give your guests a perfectly caramelized sugar crust. There’s really no substitute for the satisfying snap of that first crack through the shell.

Whether you’re trying it in the broiler for the first time or firing up your blowtorch like a pro, our fool proof Crème Brûlée recipe will help you get the right results, time after time.

Updated Jun 26, 2024
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Simplifying Technical Techniques

Our recipe streamlines the process of making Crème Brûlée. We use everyday pantry staples, no exotic ingredients required. With Betty’s tried-and-true tips on your side, you can cook with confidence and bring this elegant, restaurant-quality dish to your table any night of the week. Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you consistently get the results you desire.

Take Your Time

Pour liquid ingredients in slowly. As you’re adding the custard to the ramekins, too fast of a pour can make the custard spill or drip over the sides, which will cook inconsistently, and make a bit of a mess. Take care when adding the boiling water into the pan. You don’t want hot water splashing into the custard.

Be Consistent

Make sure to fill each ramekin to the same height. That way they’ll all cook at the same rate, and each one will be at the correct level of doneness at the same time. Also be sure to use the same amount of sugar on the top of each cup. This goes double if you’re using a broiler instead of a torch. Just keep an eye on your amounts, distribute the custard and the sugar evenly, and you’ll end up with a tray full of perfect crème brûlée.

What Custard Method Does This Recipe Use?

There are two methods for making a brulée custard: a “hot” method and a “cold” method. The “hot” method is more common. In this version, egg yolks and sugar are whisked in a double boiler with the cream, and the vanilla is added to the custard only after it’s removed from the heat. As the name suggests, this method results in a hot custard.

This recipe uses the “cold” method, in which beaten eggs are incorporated into the complete cream, sugar and vanilla mixture, and the result is baked in a “bain-marie,” which is the French culinary term for the method of placing a container in boiling water. This creates a gentle heat around the food, resulting in a more uniform cooking process. This method is also much easier, and requires fewer steps, which is always the goal in Betty’s kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Boiling water
  • 8 teaspoons granulated sugar

Steps

  • 1
    Heat oven to 350°F. In 13x9-inch pan, place 4 (6-oz) ceramic ramekins. In small bowl, beat egg yolks with wire whisk. In large bowl, stir whipping cream, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and the vanilla until well mixed. Add egg yolks; beat with wire whisk until evenly colored and well blended. Pour cream mixture evenly into ramekins.
  • 2
    Place pan with ramekins in oven. Pour enough boiling water into pan, being careful not to splash water into ramekins, until water covers two-thirds of the height of the ramekins.
  • 3
    Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until top is light golden brown and sides are set (centers will be jiggly).
  • 4
    Using tongs or grasping tops of ramekins with pot holder, carefully transfer ramekins to cooling rack. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours but no longer than 48 hours.
  • 5
    Uncover ramekins; gently blot any liquid from tops of custards with paper towel. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons granulated sugar over each chilled custard. Holding kitchen torch 3 to 4 inches from custard, caramelize sugar on each custard by heating with torch about 2 minutes, moving flame continuously over sugar in circular motion, until sugar is melted and light golden brown. (To caramelize sugar in the broiler, see Broiler Directions below.) Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 8 hours before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Crème Brulee Mean?

Like many of the fanciest desserts on Earth, Crème Brûlée is French. The name itself translates literally as “burnt cream.” With a name like that, you can see why they decided to keep it in the original French. Though It’s technically a bit of a misnomer since you’re actually caramelizing the sugar—not the cream—and hopefully you’re not going so far as to ‘burn’ anything at all.

Nutrition

540 Calories, 44g Total Fat, 7g Protein, 30g Total Carbohydrate, 29g Sugars

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories
540
Calories from Fat
390
Total Fat
44g
67%
Saturated Fat
25g
127%
Trans Fat
1g
Cholesterol
440mg
147%
Sodium
55mg
2%
Potassium
150mg
4%
Total Carbohydrate
30g
10%
Dietary Fiber
0g
0%
Sugars
29g
Protein
7g
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
30%
30%
Vitamin C
0%
0%
Calcium
10%
10%
Iron
4%
4%
Exchanges:
0 Starch; 0 Fruit; 2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 1 High-Fat Meat; 7 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
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