Crème Brûlée is so easy to make you need four simple ingredients; heavy cream, vanilla, eggs, and sugar – make for a vibrant and elegant dessert. Most crème brûlée recipes require a small propane torch to make the crunchy sugar top, but you can also use a simple solution: your oven’s broiler. Just be sure to let the custard set for several hours in the refrigerator before brûléeing the top; otherwise, you’ll end up with warm custard.
Strain your custard: There’s no tempering of eggs or stovetop cooking of this recipe, so the one tiny thing you can do to guarantee a perfectly smooth custard is to strain the mixture before filling the ramekins. Here’s how I do it: Mix up the custard and then strain it through a fine-mesh into a measuring pitcher. The pitcher will make filling the ramekins easier.
Bake the custard in a water bath A water bath is simply a dish of warm water that slowly cooks the creme for crème brûlée. Heat a kettle of water while you preheat the oven and make the custard. Place the filled ramekins in a baking or roasting pan and fill the container with the warm water.
Chill the cremes before you brûlée Crème brûlée can be served warm or cold, but you need to chill the baked and set custard before the caramelization step to ensure a thick, crackling crust.
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar together. Set aside.
- Heat the heavy cream, and salt together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. As soon as it begins to simmer, remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Gradually add the hot cream to egg mixture and whisk into the egg yolks.
- Place your ramekins in a large baking pan. Pour custard in your ramekins, filling to the top.
- Carefully fill the baking pan with about 1/2 inch of the hot water.
- Bake until the edges are set, and centers are a little jiggly. Begin checking them at 30 minutes.
- Remove pan from the oven and, using an oven mitt, remove the ramekins from the pan.
- Place on a wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour. Place in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days before topping.
- Using the remaining granulated sugar, sprinkle a thin layer all over the surface of the chilled custards.
- Caramelize the sugar using a kitchen torch and serve immediately. Enjoy!