Crème Brûlée

I never used to get that excited about creme brulee, or crème brûlée (if I want to pretend that I understand French punctuation and didn’t just copy that directly from Wikipedia). However, my indifference completely changed when Robert and I had it for dessert during our anniversary dinner at The Refectory. We actually ordered a chocolate hazelnut torte, but the waiter brought us a complimentary Creme Brulee as well because we were celebrating a special occasion. O.M.G.- it rocked my world! The burnt sugar topping tasted like a perfectly-roasted marshmallow and the “creme” portion was baked just right with a very intense vanilla flavor. It was served with a crispy palmier and, from that moment on, my view on this custard treat changed forever.

To recreate this dish, I used a recipe from Alton Brown as his cooking and baking methods never disappoint.  It’s made up of only a few ingredients, but it does require  a whole vanilla bean. Vanilla beans are a little pricey and sometimes tough to find; however, the waiter at The Refectory claimed it was what made their creme brulee stand out-and I’d have to agree after tasting it. Luckily, our local Kroger carries them.

This dessert is definitely a special occasion treat- in part because of the time required to make it, but also due to the fact that it’s pure cream. So if you’re in the mood to indulge, this dessert is absolutely for you. Don’t cut corners with this recipe, just run an extra mile before you sit down to enjoy it. 😉

Creme Brulee


  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 quarts hot water


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Slit the vanilla bean down the middle with a paring knife and scrape out the beans. Get as much out as you can- they’re like gold!

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually.

Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan (I used two 9-inch round cake pans).

Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. I recommend putting only one rack in the oven, placing the cakes with the creme brulee on the rack (don’t pull the rack out), and then pour the hot water in the pans to avoid splashing the water into the ramekins during the transport. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top (this is the best part! 🙂 ). Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe from: Alton Brown

22 Comments Add yours

  1. jenny smith says:

    Looks amazing! If you dont mind me asking where did you get that knife? My step mom had one before she got sick and it really was an amazing knife!! I’ve looked all over the internet!

    1. Lolly says:

      Hi, I got the pairing knife at a specialty kitchen store. I love it.

  2. briarrose says:

    Beautiful job. It looks like it is well worth the effort. 🙂

    1. Lolly says:

      Thank you Briarrose and thank you for commenting. I just visited your blog and your root beer float fudge sauce looks divine 🙂

  3. Ann says:

    I love Creme Brulee…and yours looks beautiful! I love your pictures and am SO happy you added me as a FoodBuzz Friend! You’ve been buzzed!

    1. Lolly says:

      Thanks for visiting and commenting, Ann! I just checked out your food blog and it looks great 🙂

  4. @Lolly-I am just starting out too, and have a lot to learn.

  5. Beautiful photo! Sounds like my kind of dessert.

    1. Lolly says:

      Thanks, Jennifer! And thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. I am heading to check out your food blog right now!

  6. Crème brûlée is one of my favs – and like you, my favourite part is the bit with the blowtorch. One time, was so carried away in front of guests, I just about set the tablecloth alight – now it’s just hidden with a candlestick holder 😉
    I love your accompaniment here – a hazelnut palmier? It all looks beautiful!

    1. Lolly says:

      Thank you so much, Jill. I love your blog. And I will have you know- the comment you left went to my spam box. I thought that was ironic after your “spam” post. Haha 🙂

  7. I cannot help ordering this gorgeous dessert when I see it on a menu. This is making me hungry and it is only breakfast time.

  8. khaki says:

    btw,costco has packs of vanilla beans from time to time(i use it to make my own vanilla) ,i”ll keep my eye out.i split the beans and put in big ol bottle of vodka and as need i can dig out a bean to scrap to use.

  9. khaki says:

    did you make the palmiers too? dems is purdy too. time to start to get some sponsers,or have “contests” like annie does,make some money!!!
    i want to make the browned eyed bakers ultimate chocolate chip cookies,i think its called a new york chocolate chip,i have a recipe i loved but i always gets so seduced by these bakers superlatives like,”ultimate,best ever,your last recipe for chocoolate chip cookies”,yada.
    do you like pioneer woman?
    i bought you some see’s chocolate chips and the ants invaded them yesterday,f@#! ants.
    i really like 60% cocoa chips from Ghiridelli,big ol chips .
    finally i am making a knock off trail bar that was sold in lake tahoe,a tahoe bar,sold for 3 bucks in park store,let cha know how it goes!

    1. khaki says:

      whoops,its my baking addiction,not browneyed baker

    2. Lolly says:

      Hey Khaki- I did make the palmiers as well. I plan on posting those next week. The trail bar sounds delish- I would love that recipe. I’m sure it will be scrumptious. I just discovered The Pioneer Woman and I really like her stuff. She’s a big celebrity and role model in the food blogging world.

      Oh and if you find some vanilla beans at Costco, I would love if you would pick up some for me- I will pay you back! And damn those ants! Can’t wait to see you soon. 🙂

  10. molly says:

    Lolly, I can’t express how much I LOVE your new blog. So professional! It’s now the first site I go to when I open my computer.

    You have the right combination of how-to advice and folksy asides. And your photography is as good as anything I’ve seen in magazines and books.

    You will soon have a huge cult following and will get big offers from publishing houses and the Food Channel. Not kidding — i t’s gonna happen.

    The only advice I can give is to ask a professional blog/website person as to how to increase traffic to your site. BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME. YOUSE GONNA BE A STAR.

    Oh and PS — add some veggie dishes, please! (But then you couldn’t call it Sweet Treats, so maybe forget it.)

    1. Lolly says:

      Haha. Thanks for your kind words, Aunt Molly. I don’t know if I live up to all of your compliments though- it’s just a fun way to document my hobby and improve my amateur skills. And I will definitely add some vegetable dishes- I have a fresh corn chowder soup scheduled for next week and my garden is on the brink of harvest!

      1. Hi Lolly, I love that you cook with ingredients from your garden. This is the first year I have been doing it as well, and I’m just starting to harvest a couple things. They don’t lie when they say anything you’ve grown yourself tates better. Looking forward to sharing recipes with you…and by the way-your photos are great! One area I’m working on.

      2. Lolly says:

        Hi Promise Gephart! Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I will definitely check out your blog and see what’s cooking from your garden. Thank you for the photography compliment as well. I am very much a beginner and have a long way to go, but we’ve got to start somewhere right? 🙂

Thank you for visiting Lolly's Sweet & Savory Treats. I love to read your comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s