Pharm Fresh

The foodie alter-ego of a pharmacy student

Vanilla Creme Brulee December 21, 2008

Filed under: dessert — pharmfresh @ 8:08 pm
Tags: , , ,

Creme brulee is one of those desserts that I really like, but I always seem to forget about.  Whenever I go to make desserts for myself or my family, creme brulee barely ever crosses my mind, even though it’s super easy to make and delicious.  Maybe it’s the copious amounts of heavy cream that keeps me away.  Who knows?  But if you’re looking for something easy to make that’s sure to impress this holiday season, this is definitely the recipe for you!

You can use either vanilla extract or vanilla beans in this recipe.  In my case, my vanilla beans were in my house in Big Rapids, and I was cooking this at my parents’ house in Lansing, so I opted for the extract.  However, if you’re going to use extract, make sure it’s the real thing, and not imitation vanilla flavoring.  The real stuff is more expensive, but the taste is so much better.  It’s definitely worth the few extra bucks, especially when vanilla is the main flavor of the dish.  I highly recommend going with Nielsen-Massey Mexican Vanilla, which you can find on or at Williams-Sonoma.

This recipe is the easiest one I’ve found so far, and it makes an incredibly smooth, rich custard, without anything more than a little egg cracking and whisking.  In order to get the crispy sugar crust on top, which is what separates creme brulee from custard, you can either get a kitchen torch or use the broiler on your oven.  I recommend getting the torch.  First of all, having a torch in your kitchen that you actually can use for cooking is way beyond cool in my book.  Second, sugar can go from browned and delicious to burnt and disgusting in a matter of seconds, and a torch will help you control that a lot better than the broiler.  It’s also really handy in browning merangues or marshmallows for indoor s’mores!


Vanilla Creme Brulee

6 egg yolks

6 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract or one vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out

1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

4 tbsp. sugar, for topping

1) Preheat oven to 275 degrees and grease six (1/2 cup) ramekins.

2) Whisk together egg yolks and 6 tbsp. sugar.  Add the vanilla extract or the scraped out vanilla bean seeds, whisk until combined.

3) Whisk in the heavy whipping cream.  Pour the custard mixture into the six prepared ramekins.

4) Lay one sheet of paper towel in the bottom of a large roasting pan or baking dish and then place the ramekins in the dish (the paper towel will keep the ramekins from sliding around).  Fill the pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the outside of the ramekins.

5) Carefully place the pan in the oven, and bake for 30-40 minutes.  The custards should be set around the edges, but the middles will still be jiggly.

6) Once cooled to room temperature, remove the ramekins from the water bath and refrigerate at least 2-3 hours until they are completely chilled.

7) Right before eating, sprinkle enough granulated sugar to coat the top of each dish.  Use the torch to caramelize the sugar so it forms a hard, dark brown crust on the top.  Or, broil the custards until the sugar is caramelized, watching carefully the entire time.


8 Responses to “Vanilla Creme Brulee”

  1. CourtJ Says:

    The sugar crust looks golden and perfect!

  2. pharmfresh Says:

    Thank you! It’s definitely my favorite part of creme brulee! :)

  3. joythebaker Says:

    i just love the crunchy top of the creme brulee, once that’s gone i think i get bored… how crazy is that!? yours looks perfectly crunchy and delicious! and don’t even get me started on indoor smores!

  4. megan Says:

    Your creme brulee looks gorgeous! Our family always makes it for Christmas dinner so I’m definitely getting excited seeing your photos and thinking about it :)

  5. trayce Says:

    One thing I just learned is to take the pan to the oven and fill it w/water there – no slipping no spilling. Funny that I just made this yesterday w/somewhat the same recipe. Yum.

  6. chumpman Says:

    wow! i love creme brulee so i asked my GF to make it according to your recipe and it taste wonderful! great blog and great recipe!

  7. pharmfresh Says:

    Thank you! I’m so glad you tried out the recipe, and liked it! :)

  8. dragonlife Says:

    So simple!
    In French Catalogne they would add some grated orange peel!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s