Make some Creme Brulee!

cremebruleeThe classic French desert Crème Brulee can be traced back in cook books as far as 1691, but it was likely part of French cooking even earlier than that.  This desert is also known in England as Trinity Crème or Crema Catalan in Spain.  The English translation is burnt crème since the sweet custard is burnt with a blow torch (or broiler, if need be) leaving a lovely caramel crust.  You don’t have to go to a fancy French restaurant to enjoy this elegant desert.  It is actually quite easy to make at home so pull out the Pillivuyt porcelain and get cooking! Click more to view the recipee.

Creme Brulee

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005

Prep Time:

15 min

Inactive Prep Time:

2 hr 15 min

Cook Time:

1 hr 0 min

6 servings


  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 quarts hot water


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.