Creme Brulee with Vanilla Bean


The best gift I ever received was a kitchen torch and a little creme brûlée cookbook for my wedding. It wasn’t even on my gift registry. At first, I thought, what am I going to do with this? Honestly, I found blow torches, even small kitchen ones, a bit intimidating. I had always assumed making a creme brûlée would be complicated, until one day I took up my blow torch and went forth. It was easy! Who would believe you could make such an impressive dish in such little time?

For best results, make the crème Brulee ahead of time. Right before serving, sprinkle the sugar over the custard, making sweeping motions with your torch to melt the sugar evenly. I like my sugar best when it’s slightly burnt, and the Brulee turns a glassy copper. 


The Perfect Sugar to Use for Creme Brulee

Sugar that is too coarse will not caramelize easily.  The best sugar for topping off a creme brulee is superfine sugar. Its tiny crystals caramelize quickly and easily. If you don’t have superfine sugar on hand, you can make your own from granulated sugar. Put the sugar in a food processor for 1-2 minutes until it looks and feels super fine.

Creme Brulee Recipe

Serves 6


8 egg yolks

1/3 cup granulated white sugar

2 cups heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup superfine sugar (for a caramelized top)


1.    Preheat oven 300F

2.    Whisk egg yolks and sugar in large bowl until dissolved. The mixture should look pale yellow and thick.

3.    Add heavy cream and vanilla. Whisk until well-blended.

4.    Divide into 6 ramekins.

5.    Place in a water bath. Place a paper towel (to prevent slippage) at the bottom of a rectangular pan. Place ramekins inside the pan. Fill pan with warm water until it reaches the halfway mark on the ramekin.

6.    Bake 40-50 minutes until edges are set; middle will still be loose.

7.    Remove from oven.  Leave in water bath until cooled.

8.    Remove from the water bath and chill for a minimum of two hours and a maximum of two days.

9.    When ready to serve, sprinkle about 2 tsp of sugar over each dessert.

Use your kitchen torch to melt the sugar for a caramelized top coating. If you do not have one you can also use the broiler but I recommend the torch. Since I overcame my intimidation, I have grown quite fond of it.

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