Friends, this one is a great one. I always thought that creme brulee was so fancy and would be hard to make, but guess what? IT’S NOT! Just a few ingredients, a bit of effort, and some patience will result in a creamy, delicious, amazing dessert.
Now, you could totally make this without the jam on the bottom, but the jam just elevates the whole thing. It adds a pop of color and a bit of tang and makes you seem even fancier when it took literally an extra 10 seconds to add to the bottom of your ramekin!
I always hate recipes that don’t use whole eggs, but it’s impossible to avoid that here. SO! hang on to those egg whites to make some meringue cookies (recipe coming soon!) or an egg white omelet or something, whatever makes you happy.
I’ve got a few tips for you to make sure it comes out creamy and perfect:
- when you’re heating the creme, be patient! It takes a few minutes, and you’ll be tempted to turn up the heat to speed things along. Don’t do it!! It’s so easy to burn milk and I’m always a bit paranoid about it, but slow and steady wins the race here
- if you don’t have a fine mesh sieve, you can definitely skip that step. I did because I don’t have one! However, skipping that step makes it even more critically to slowly, carefully temper the egg mixture. So be intentional and you’ll be totally fine
- use any jam you like! I like a bright colorful one for the ~aesthetic~, but most important is that it’s got a bit of tang to it to cut through all the sweetness of the custard and the brulee on top
- putting a towel into the larger baking dish that you put the ramekins in isn’t necessary, but it will prevent the dishes from bumping against each other and creating an annoying clinking noise while they’re baking!
- the trickiest part is knowing when the custard is done. They’re done when they’re mostly set, but still are a bit jiggly, but how jiggly is too jiggly?? I like to tilt the ramekin and see if any part of the custard looks like it’s going to pour out of the ramekin. If it does, they need more time. If it doesn’t, you’re done!
- finally, the brulee on top! You can definitely use one of those fancy blowtorches! however, I don’t have one, and a broiler works just as well. Just keep a close eye on it and move the creme brulees around so no one spot gets too much heat, just like you do with a blowtorch
That’s it! Now you’ve got everything you need to make a perfect creme brulee
Creme Brulee – makes 4
- 4 egg yolks (save the whites for meringue cookies!)
- 1/2 C sugar, divided
- pinch of salt
- 2 C heavy creme
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 4-6 Tbsp jam, any flavor (optional but encouraged)
How to do it
- preheat the over to 325*. place a dish towel in the bottom of a baking dish that is big enough to hold all four ramekins
- if using jam, place about a tablespoon in the bottom of each ramekin, use enough to make a small, even layer on the bottom. place the ramekins on top of the dish towel in the baking dish and set aside
- in a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, 1/4 C sugar, and salt. whisk until lighter in color and the sugar is mostly dissolved. set aside
- in a pot, heat the heavy creme over medium high heat until small bubbles begin to appear. mix while the milk is heating up to avoid scorching it
- once the creme is bubbling, remove from the heat and add a small amount to the prepared egg yolk mixture, mixing constantly. continue adding small amounts of the creme while stirring until all of the creme has been incorporated.
- add the vanilla to the creme and egg mixture, then pour the mixture through a sieve into a container that makes it easy to pour from, like a large liquid measuring cup
- carefully fill the ramekins with the creme and egg mixture. hold a spoon over the ramekin and pour the custard into the spoon, letting it overflow to fill the ramekin. this prevents the jam layer from mixing into the custard as you pour it in
- pour hot or boiling water into the baking dish that is holding the ramekins until the water reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- bake for 50-60 minutes, until the custard is set but jiggly. see the tips above for the cues I look for. remove from the water bath, and let cool on the counter for 10-15 minutes before placing in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days
- when ready to eat, put your oven rack as close to the broiler as possible. carefully sprinkle 1-2 Tbsp of sugar over the top of the custard in an even layer, covering the entire surface. place the ramekins on a baking sheet then place under the broiler for 3-6 minutes, watching carefully and moving frequently, until the sugar is golden brown and completely melted
- let cool for a couple of minutes and enjoy!