This French dessert has a very elegant name: Creme Brulee. However, when translated, many would be surprised by its simplicity. Its name speaks more of its ingredients and preparation than of elegance.
Creme Brulee literally translates as “Burnt Milk.” It is a French specialty similar to a pudding, covered in a thin layer of toasted caramel.
Some historians affirm that Creme Brulee is nothing more than an adaptation of the “Crema Catalana”, a Spanish recipe, of which there is some certainty that it predates the Creme Brulee. However, current recipes have evolved and they don’t look much like each other.
Although its ingredients are simple, the preparation requires a little love and patience. Creme Brulee is cooked in three phases:
- The ingredients are mixed and cooked in a pot to form the pudding base.
- The creme brulee is baked to perfection in the oven (preferably in a ramekin) to help the pudding set.
- Last but not least, the caramel top is “burned” so that it forms a thin, crisp layer of golden sugar. Yum!
To make the crispy top layer (which is honestly the main draw of this dessert), add one or two tablespoons of sugar on top and burn it with a flame torch until a golden and crispy caramel layer is formed.
How To Torch Creme Brulee (Without A Torch)
The traditional Creme Brulee recipe involves using a blowtorch to burn the sugar off the top of the dessert. In fact, many people don’t dare make Creme Brulee at home because they don’t have a blowtorch.
Having a blowtorch is desirable but not mandatory. Here we will teach you some tricks to burn the sugar of the creme brulee without a torch.
Method 1: Broil Creme Brulee In The Oven
The first and the one that we will use is the broil function of the oven.
Heat the oven to 250 ° C / 500 ° F. When it has fully pre-heated, insert the molds, close the oven, and watch it carefully. In about three minutes, it will be completely golden.
Pro Tip: You must watch it to avoid the risk of burning.
Method 2: Use The Creme Brulee Spoon Trick
The second trick is to heat a spoon on the stovetop, and when it is hot enough, pass it over the top of the creme brulee. This process must be repeated several times until you obtain the characteristic golden color of this dessert.
Make sure you use a thick spoon that is also heat resistant.
In each repetition, you must wash the spoon. To compensate for any sugar that may be lost during the washing process, I add an extra tablespoon of sugar before torching.
By the way, I use granulated sugar, but there are alternatives as well. To learn more, you can read the detailed guide that I put together: The Best Sugar For Creme Brulee – What You Should Use
Substituting Heavy Cream in Creme Brulee
Another question that many of my friends ask me is if they can modify any of the ingredients of this dessert.
The most common question that I receive is: “Can I substitute milk for heavy cream?” You can substitute half of the heavy cream for an equal portion of full-fat milk.
However, it is necessary to add a little cornstarch because the cream loses its creamy consistency and becomes very liquid. The cornstarch will be cooked in the first phase of preparing the creme brulee and the result is quite similar to the original dessert recipe.
The most important thing to do when making creme brulee is to get a smooth cream under a crisp golden top. If you did it right, it will make the famous “crack” when you take your first bite
How To Make Creme Brulee With Half And Half
The instructions below are much more simplistic than the ones I’ve provided in the recipe card below. This is because I wanted to make sure to provide the most detailed instructions so that your creme brulee turns out perfectly!
Read the below instructions to get an idea of the general process and see the pictures, then skip ahead to the recipe for the true step-by-step guide. Enjoy!
Step 1: Gather your ingredients
Step 2: Mix the eggs, sugar, and salt
Step 3: In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat the milk with the vanilla, then add the sour cream
Step 4: Add the egg yolk mixture to the saucepan
Step 5: Portion out the creme brulee mixture into 6 ramekins (I used 4, but it makes 6 servings, so it’s better to use 6 if you have them)
Step 6: Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, then top each ramekin with 2 tablespoons of white granulated sugar.
Step 7: Torch the tops using the method you choose and enjoy immediately!
Optional: Top with maraschino cherries and mint (my favorite combination)
- 6 egg yolks
- 300 ml of full-fat milk
- 300 ml of cream
- 1 tbsp of corn-starch
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 1 tbsp of vanilla essence
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp sugar more for each dessert
For practicality, before starting to make the cream you should prepare the bain-marie where the creme brulee will be baked.
Arrange a large, medium-deep refractory mold and fill it with water to a height of three fingers. This will cause the oven to fill with steam and ensure wet cooking.
Bring the mold to the oven and turn it on medium heat 150 ° C / 300 ° F.
In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar and a pinch of salt, until you get a foamy cream.
If you want to speed up the process, you can use an electric hand mixer.
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat the milk with the vanilla. If you use vanilla pods, you can add the seeds and pod to the cooking.
With the help of a strainer, add the tablespoon of starch, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
When you see that slight steam begins to come out of the milk, add the sour cream, stirring constantly.
Add the yolk mixture and continue beating until all ingredients are well blended.
Continue stirring for a few minutes until the cream begins to thicken. Turn off the stove and pour the mixture into the selected molds.
Place the molds containing the creme brulee mixture onto a baking container.
The water in the container should reach about half the molds with the cream. If you lack water, you can add a little more.
Bake for about 25 minutes. Turn off the oven. Remove the tray from the oven and let the cream cool on a wire rack.
You can prepare them one day in advance if you wish. When they are cold, you can store them in the fridge tightly covered until the next day.
Cover each of the molds with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
With the help of a blowtorch (or one of the methods described above), toast the superficial sugar until it is a golden layer.
Enjoy this warm dessert. If desired, you can decorate with maraschino cherries and mint leaves.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 377Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 246mgSodium: 71mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 0gSugar: 31gProtein: 6g
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