Crème Brûlée

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Creme Brulee

A couple of days ago I was talking to Shawna on the phone. I was explaining that since I had just gone to the dentist I had to stop at a pastry shop. She was confused by the logic, I don’t know why. That got us talking about pastries. She said she had a neighbor who was a pastry chef. (This is the job I want in my next life.) Shawna said the lady is super awesome because she can make crème brûlée. I said, “Shawna, I make crème brûlée. In fact it is waiting to go up on the blog.” And, for a limited time (as long as this site exists,) you can learn to make your own crème brûlée. Just pay shipping and handling (or just scroll down.) If you follow Shawna’s logic, then you too will be super awesome.

My mother-in-law once gave me a dainty kitchen torch and a set of ramekins for my birthday. I love gifts like that. Well, the fuel ran out and I didn’t have time to order the new specialty one. Nor did I want to pay what they were charging. As I searched for a solution, my mind wandered back to my childhood and that is where I found the solution. My dad is a very safety oriented guy. He thinks anything less than steel-toed shoes is careless disregard for ones toes and he always required me to put on long pants and sleeves before cooking bacon (even now, he gives me the evil eye when I’m wearing flip flops.) However, he is sort of a conundrum. He is missing the tops of a few of his fingers because he cut them off in high school shop class and he always lit our 4th of July sparklers with a blow torch. Mind you, we weren’t allowed to have fireworks because they were deemed too dangerous. But sure, use that flame-thrower to light your sparklers. (And by the way, we had to wear long sleeves, long pants AND close toed shoes to participate in any sparkler events.) Some might say, including myself, that his ideas of “safety” weren’t always consistent. However, when I was getting ready to serve crème brûlée and my dainty torch’s fuel was exhausted, it worked out great that I knew just where to get something that would do the trick And even better, he had an extra blow torch he gave me to keep. SCORE!!! So I use this behemoth for my crème brûlée needs. (I didn’t say it was pretty.)


Now, I know, not everyone has such a safety-minded-blow-torch-wielding father. I would hate for you to miss out on crème brûlée. You can use your broiler to melt the sugar. It is more tedious and the results aren’t quite as good, but it can be done. You have to make sure your ramekins are broiler safe. Then you have to tend them and move them around under the heat to melt the sugar, but not scorch it.

Creme Brulee
You can see the crème brûlée on the left was done in the oven. It isn’t quite as glassy looking, a little more splotchy and uneven. When breaking the the sugar layer, it wasn’t as crisp. The ones on the right were done with the blow torch. Their sugar layer is more even and broke with a satisfying snap. But, the broiled one was still delicious and satisfying. I think I must demand that before you prepare this desert, you put on long sleeves, long pants and closed toed shoes. Enjoy! 

Crème Brûlée

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 6

Serving Size: 6 ounce ramekin

Crème Brûlée


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 vanilla bean split and scraped
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Bring large saucepan of water to a boil. Cover and maintain a simmer until ready to use
  3. Combine cream, milk and vanilla in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Watch it carefully so it doesn't boil over!
  4. In another heat proof dish, beat egg yolks with sugar until pale yellow.
  5. When milk and cream simmers, turn off heat and temper the egg yolks. Pour 1/4 to 1/2 of the milk mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk constantly. Continue adding 1/4 cup of milk mixture to the egg mixture until the dish with the eggs is warm to the touch on the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Pour all of the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining cream and milk. Mix well. Strain mixture through fine sieve to remove any bits of cooked egg.
  7. Pour into ramekins (makes approximately 6, 6.5 ounce ramekins) Place ramekins in a casserole dish. Place casserole dish on oven rack. Pour simmering water into casserole dish, being careful not to spill inside ramekins, until water goes 1/2 way up the ramekins. Carefully slide casserole dish fully into the oven.
  8. Cook for 30 minutes, turning casserole dish mid-way through for even baking. Remove from oven when custard still jiggles when the ramekin is moved. If custard is completely set while still in the oven, it has cooked for too long.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool. The crème brûlée will continue to set as it cools.
  10. Sprinkle a very thin layer of sugar over surface of crème brûlée. Use a blow torch or kitchen torch to caramelize sugar. Keep the torch moving constantly to avoid scorching any areas of the sugar. Sugar will turn light brown and glassy.
  11. If you don't have a torch, turn on your broiler to high. Place ramekins directly under the broiler (make sure the ramekins are broiler safe.) You will need to tend them to make sure they caramelize evenly. Move them around so that the heat gets to all the areas of the ramekins.
  12. Break through the sugar layer and enjoy!

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    • AnitaAnita says

      I guess I’ll need to post a tutorial. But it is just like it sounds. Cut it in half and scrape out the little seeds.

  1. Shawna MorrisseyShawna Morrissey says

    I think I’m the luckiest one here because I have friend and a sister who make delicious pastries. I may never actually have to try this recipe and I’ll still get to eat crème brûlée, which by the way is AMAZING! :)

  2. Melanie Randall says

    Only dad could use the blowtorch to light the sparklers. We had to sit on the porch while he lit them on the street. Once the blowtorch was extinguished we were given the go-ahead meet him on the street. But they burned out so fast since half of the sparkler was used up in the lighting! And don’t forget the ice cream buckets filled with water in case the sparkler/blow-torch experience went awry!

  3. Janel says

    I make my children wear closed toe shoes to use sparklers too. We had an incident several years ago that resulted in severe burns on the bottom of one of my daughter’s feet because she kicked off her flip-flops and then stepped on part of a sparkler. OW! That ended her summer fun for a while as you might imagine. Ever since then I have been super particular about this rule at our house, so I am glad to know I am not alone in my weirdness.

    • AnitaAnita says

      I am actually funny about safety as well. I fully realize that his rules were for a reason. We had a bucket of water to put all the spent sparklers and we were never allowed to stick them in the grass. Sorry about your daughter, that sounds terrible. Burns are pretty much the worst thing EVER! I did always find it a little confusing that he was so safety minded, preaching to us while wielding a 5-inch flame.

  4. Marybeth Kroon says

    Oh my heck!! I remember doing sparklers with you once, Anita! I’ve smiled and giggled all through reading this! :) Sadly, no blow torch at our house… maybe I’ll invest so I can enjoy this amazingness too! Loving your blog you two!


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