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Creme Brulée Recipe

A rich egg custard dessert, often served in a ramekin. It's topped with a crunchy layer of caramelised sugar.
There are claims, that it was invented at a Cambridge University college, where it was known as Cambridge Burnt Cream.
It should correctly be spelt crème brûlée, but this spelling might muddle-up our data base search system.
If possible cook the custards the day before they are needed.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at - top-class dishes from beginners upwards

Key Features

  • Suitable for Vegetarians


For 4 ramekins:

300ml/ ½ pint Single Cream
½ a Vanilla Pod or 4 to 5 drops of Vanilla Essence (try not to use Vanilla Flavour, which is artificial)
4 medium Egg Yolk
60gr/ 2 oz Castor Sugar

For the Caramel topping – 60gr/2 oz Caster Sugar

Equipment needed: 4 oven-proof ramekins, or 1 single oven-proof dish. An oven accurately set at 200C/400F (ovens vary, so an oven thermometer is a good investment, both for this and if making mousses).
A deep roasting tray


1. Put the cream and ½ vanilla pod, or essence, into a saucepan and heat to scalding-point – but don't allow it to boil. Remove it from the heat.
2. In another deep boil, beat the egg yolks and sugar until it's smooth, then pour the hold cream over the egg mixture – stirring all the time. Heat the oven to 200C/400F.
3. Put the bowl over a saucepan, partially filled with hot water, and heat the mixture until it's thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
4. Pour the mixture into your chosen dish/dishes.
5. Stand this dish/dishes in a roasting tin half-filled with boiling water and put the mixture in the heated oven. You need to give it a good skin; for ramekins this will take about 8 minutes – for a single dish about 10 minutes.
6. Remove the custard/custards from the oven, being careful not to break the skin.
7. Allow then to cool, them completely chill in a fridge.
8. When required, make the caramel top by putting a thin layer of sugar over the top.
9. Heat the grill, and put the custard/custards under a hot grill to melt the sugar evenly over the top – this can be done with a small blow torch, if you have one.
10. Set these aside for a few minutes, for the sugar to harden. Serve, perhaps with Lang du Chat (or similar biscuits) on the side.

The sugar layer can be done in advance, but shouldn't be done over 2 hours ahead. The desserts shouldn't be refrigerated again after the caramel has been made.

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creme brulee
creme brulee