Classic Crème Brulee | Mel’s Kitchen Cafe Tell a Friend

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Only quantities of ingredients are changed; recipe Directions below will not reflect those changes.


  • 1 - vanilla bean
  • 3 cups - heavy cream
  • 1 cups - milk (1%, 2% or whole)
  • 8 - egg yolks
  • 1/2 cups - granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons
  • 6 tablespoons - sugar, for topping
  • Directions:

    Gently slice through the skin of the vanilla bean and with the flat edge of the knife, scrape out the seeds (see how-to video below).

    In a medium saucepan (about 2- or 3-quart), combine the vanilla bean seeds, scraped vanilla bean pods, heavy cream, and milk. Bring the mixture just to a simmer. Remove the pot from the heat, cover and let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pods.

    In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until well combined.

    Slowly ladle the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture while whisking constantly and quickly so the eggs don't cook and form hard little bits. Adding it slowly tempers the eggs so they don't cook too quickly.

    Pour the mixture into 6 ramekins (about 7- to 8-ounce). If you are using flatter ramekins (4- to 5-ounce), you'll probably get about 8 ramekins-full out of this recipe.

    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Warm about 3-4 quarts hot water (depends on how big your roasting pan is) until hot but not boiling.

    Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Place the filled ramekins on top of the towel and set the roasting pan on an oven rack in the center of the oven.

    Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan, avoiding splashing any water into the ramekins. Bake the creme brulee for 40-45 minutes until set but still slightly jiggly in the center (if the edges are still jiggling, bake it a few minutes longer).

    Using a large, flat spatula, immediately and carefully remove the ramekins from the hot water. Let them cool completely and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until completely cold, 6 hours or up to 3 days.

    About 30 minutes before serving, remove the ramekins from the refrigerator, blot the tops dry with a paper towel. Lightly sprinkle about 2 teaspoons or so of granulated sugar evenly across the top of the creme brulee (lifting the ramekin and tipping it from side to side will help the sugar spread evenly).

    Using a kitchen torch, quickly melt the sugar until it forms a golden, crispy top. Refrigerate until ready to serve (no longer than 30 minutes once the top is caramelized or it can turn a bit mushy). The creme brulee inevitably warms up a bit after the top gets browned so refrigerating for at least 10 minutes will allow it to chill slightly again.

    Brief Description

    Creme of my favorite desserts!

    Main Ingredient:

    Heavy Whipping Cream

    Category:  Desserts

    Cuisine:  American


    If you don't have vanilla beans, you can substitute 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon of the vanilla bean paste...but promise me you'll eventually try it with real, live vanilla beans. Also, if using vanilla bean seeds or paste, you can strain the mixture before adding it to the egg yolk mixture. Because the little vanilla bean seeds tend to settle after baking, straining gets rid of the excess amount. I never do this. I'm too lazy and I don't mind the vanilla bean seeds floating in the luxurious cream mixture. You can certainly use all 4 cups of heavy cream instead of subbing in the 1 cup milk but for some reason, I love this ratio of heavy cream and milk (I usually use 1%). It's still very rich and creamy. Last thing, I promise, if you have vanilla sugar laying around (empty vanilla bean pods set in granulated sugar and covered make amazing vanilla sugar), sub it in for the granulated sugar in the cream mixture and also for the topping to be caramelized. Amazing.


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    Posted On:

    July 5, 2014

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