Creme brulee is a classic dessert in French cuisine that can be found in almost all cafes and restaurants in France. This is a custard cream similar in consistency to pudding and covered with a crispy caramel crust. The rich texture and perfect sweetness have made creme brulee one of the most popular desserts of all time. Creme brulee recipe is not difficult to prepare at home and we shall tell you how to do it.
The name creme brulee translates as “burnt cream”(crème is translated as cream and brulee is burnt), because in the classic recipe, after the completion of the preparation of the cream, sugar is set on fire on its surface, thus caramelizing the top baked layer. Creme brulee has a delicate beige color and subtle caramel notes in its taste thanks to the burnt sugar.
Many people associate the taste and aroma of creme brulee with Paris, something refined and elegant. Nowadays, there are many variations of this dessert. Cocoa, chocolate, cinnamon, liqueur, rum and other aromatic ingredients are added to the recipe. Only the crisp golden crust remains unchanged and that is the specific feature by which you can recognize the traditional French dessert in any cafe in the world.
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What is the Origin of Creme Brulee?
Although the dessert is considered French, it was first mentioned in 1691 on the menu of the Duke of Orleans, its roots are either English or Catalan – this is still not known for certain. The British claim that this “burnt” pudding was first prepared in the 17th century at Trinity College, Cambridge University. Then it was given a name by the name of the educational institution – Cambridge burnt cream or Trinity cream. The Catalans also claim the authorship of this dessert: supposedly creme brulee is the younger brother of the well-known creme catalan.
How to Make Creme Brulee?
So how is this dessert prepared? Creme brulee is a custard made from a mixture of egg yolks, sugar, milk, or cream. The mixture is poured into small molds and put in the oven for a short time. The dessert is served chilled, but always with a thin crust of burnt caramelized sugar. Vanilla is added to the classic creme brulee, but there are variations with zest, cinnamon, pieces of fruit, rum, chocolate, coffee and other aromatic ingredients.
To prevent the crème from turning into a sweet omelet, it is important to follow three important rules:
- Do not beat the eggs too vigorously, until they foam.
- Prepare creme brulee in a water bath.
- Do not heat the already cooled dessert during the preparation of the caramel crust.
Classic French Creme Brulee Recipe
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 vanilla pod
- 6 egg yolks
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- For topping:
- 2 tsp caster sugar
Split the vanilla pod down the middle and scrape the seeds out using a small knife. Place into saucepan with cream and the empty vanilla pod.
Simmer uncovered over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from stove and set aside to infuse for 1 hour with lid on. Remove vanilla pod. Skim off any skin that has formed on the surface.
Preheat oven to 130°C/265°F. Place 4 x ⅔ cup / 150 ml empty ramekins in a baking pan with high enough sides that enough water can be poured in to come halfway up ramekins.
Boil a kettle of water.
Whisk yolks and sugar until just well combined. Don’t whisk too much, as this can create bubbles.
Pour cream into eggs and gently stir to combine. Divide mixture between ramekins with a soup ladle.
Pour in enough boiling water so it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the custard is set but there is still a slight wobble when you shake the ramekin gently.
Remove ramekins from water. Leave to cool, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.
Sprinkle 1/2 tsp sugar over the surface of each creme brulee. Use a blow torch to melt and caramelize the sugar.
Chocolate Creme Brulee Recipe
- 2 cups Heavy Cream
- 6 Egg Yolks
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
- 4 ounces/110g Finely Chopped Semi Sweet Chocolate
- 2 tsp Vanilla Bean Extract
- 4-6 teaspoons of Sugar
Place the oven rack on the lower-middle rack, and preheat oven to 130°C/265°F.
Place cream and sugar into a medium sized saucepan and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl until they are light and fluffy yellow.
When the cream is simmering, turn off the heat, and remove the cream from the stove. Stir in the vanilla extract, chopped chocolate, and cocoa powder. Stir the mixture until the chopped chocolate has melted completely.
Slowly pour 1/2 cup of the cream mixture into the egg yolks while whisking them continuously to temper the eggs. Repeat this process until you have whisked in all the cream mixture. Distribute amongst the ramekins.
Place the filled ramekins into a baking pan, and place them into the oven. Pour in enough boiling water so it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Gently remove the ramekins from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool for at least one hour. Place the custards into the fridge to chill for at least 6 hours.
Sprinkle 1/2 tsp sugar over the surface of each creme brulee. Torch the top until the sugar melts and becomes crispy and caramel colored.