Do you have trouble making creme brûlée? Do you accidentally curdle your eggs trying to make the most luscious custard? Do you hate all the steps it takes to make the perfect creme brûlée? Well, you do not have to worry about those things anymore – have no fear, Chef Christina is here!
There is no question about it – the classic creme brûlée is a beloved French dessert across the world. Today, you can find different variations in upscale restaurants and small-town bakeries on almost every corner. In fact, we have found the classic creme brûlée on more menu’s around the world than our four days spent in Paris. Simply because you can never go wrong with a classic creme brûlée for dessert. I mean, what is not to love about a rich, silky smooth custard with a crisp, caramelized sugar on top?
I have come across several different recipes during my time in the culinary world, and none are as EASY and simple as this classic creme brûlée recipe. How simple you may ask? All you do is mix equal parts of the four main ingredients into a bowl and VIOLA – bake and you are finished! I told you, this is the easiest classic creme brûlée recipe you will ever find. And we all have my previous Pastry Chef Randy Nielsen to thank.
About the Easiest Creme Brûlée Recipe
Most creme brûlée recipes always call for tempering egg yolks and cooking them until the custard coats the back of the spoon. If you are not careful, this process can sometimes curdle your eggs. In this easy creme brûlée method, you will not even touch the stove or mixing bowl. Furthermore, most creme brûlée recipes also use only heavy cream as the dairy content. You will find that this creme brûlée recipe uses both heavy cream and half-and-half.
At this time, you might be wondering how this easy and different recipe came to fruition… Chef Randy worked on a cruise line and needed to produce creme brûlée for thousands of guests every day. Thus, he created this easy method to help eliminate several steps and utilize all his produce onboard. This meant creating a recipe that has both half-and-half and cream.
Moreover, science is pretty fantastic. Sugar is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture. So in this creme brûlée recipe, you mix together the sugar with the half-and-half first. Then you add the rest of the ingredients and eventually the sugar just dissolves. Why? Because the large proportion of liquid to sugar and the low-fat content in the half-and-half can absorb the sugar without heat – amazing! Once the sugar dissolves (about 20 minutes), you pour the creme brûlée custard into your ramekins and bake to perfection. See, EASY!
- 1 1/2 cups of half-and-half
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 1/2 cups of cream
- 1 1/2 cups egg yolks (about 10 eggs)
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- Raw sugar (turbinado) for caramelized top
- In a large bowl, mix the sugar with the half-and-half until combined.
- Then add the rest of the ingredients - egg yolks, cream, and vanilla bean seeds. Whisk together until combined.
- Let this mix rest in the fridge for 20 minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved. During the rest period, preheat the oven to 325°F
- Place your ramekins into a baking pan. Then pour the creme brûlée into the ramekins (fill 1 cm. from the top). Fill the baking pan with water until almost halfway up the side of the ramekins.
- Bake the creme brûlée for 40 minutes (or until done) at 325°F. The creme brûlée will be ready when the custard is just set. Tip: You can also slightly touch the middle of the creme brûlée to check if it's firm.
- Cool down the creme brûlée in the fridge for at least 4 hours and up to 3 days. Tip: make sure you place plastic wrap on the ramekins nice and tight. Otherwise, the creme brûlée will create a skin.
- Once the creme brûlée is cold, sprinkle raw sugar on top of the custard. Rotate the ramekins until the sugar completely covers the surface. Then using your torch, slowly melt the sugar until it liquifies and begins to caramelize. Be careful to not torch the sugar for too long. Tip: constantly move the flame over the sugar so the sugar melts and carmelizes evenly. You want the caramelized sugar to be golden brown delicious. If it turns too dark or black, the sugar will be very bitter.
- Garnish with fresh berries and enjoy!
You will know when you have baked the creme brûlée to perfection if it is silky smooth. If the creme brûlée custard looks at all grainy, then you have overbaked it.
In my opinion, raw sugar (turbinado) is the best for caramelizing creme brûlée. It is more difficult to burn the sugar and creates the perfect golden-brown crust. Other sugars such as superfine sugar, may caramelize the fastest, but if you are not careful, it can quickly turn black. In fact, every establishment I worked at (whether it was with the Four Seasons or a Michelin star restaurant), we always used raw sugar. So now you are baking like the professionals!