Easy Creme Brûlée Recipe - Delicious Way to Use the Egg Yolks After Making Macarons

Looking for another recipe to use up egg yolks? Try this yummy Asiago Pamesan pasta sauce. 

Creme brûlée 

Makes about 10-12 servings 

8 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 cups heavy whipping cream
(Note: You can substitute with 2c whipping cream + 2 cups half/half, if desired. Diluting more than this might effect cooking time and result in thinner, more watery custard.)
1 vanilla bean (or a tsp of vanilla extract if you don’t have a vanilla bean)

70g of brown sugar for burning on top. (You can use granulated sugar as well)

Useful utensils: ramekins, sieve, creme brûlée torch

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.. Fill baking pans 1/3 of the way full of water and let the trays rest in the preheating oven until ready to use.

In large bowl, using a wooden spoon, blend the egg yolks with the granulated sugar until creamy and well mixed.  In a heavy bottom sauce pan, heat the heavy whipping cream over medium-high heat. Slice the vanilla bean gently down the center and peel open.  Using the tip of a knife or fork, scrape the moist inside of the vanilla bean and add the scrapings to the cream. Scrape out as much of the vanilla bean center as you can.  Don’t worry if some of the crunchy outer shell falls in the cream, you will strain the mixture later.  Stir to distribute throughout the cream mixture.  Gently stir the cream being careful that the cream doesn’t burn to the bottom of the saucepan.

Continue heating and stirring the vanilla cream mixture until scalding....just before boiling. It should be rich and creamy.  Remove from the heat.  Slowly pour the cream mixture into the egg mixture as you quickly whisk the egg mixture.  You don’t want the eggs to cook in the hot milk.  Stir to combine.

Pour the custard through a small strainer (sieve) as you fill your ramekins. This will remove any bits of vanilla bean or cooked egg that might have developed.  (If you don’t have ceramic ramekins, you can use small oven safe glass dishes, or a pie pan, etc.). I usually use a 1/2 c measuring cup to begin distributing the custard across the ramekins. Then use any leftovers to balance the dishes if need be.  Keep in mind that the flecks of vanilla bean will begin to settle at the bottom of the bowl.  If you tend to work slowly, or pause between fillings, you will want to whisk the custard again to evenly distribute the vanilla bean.

Gently cover each ramekin with aluminum.  They don’t need to be fully sealed. I cover them so that they are protected from splashes of water when I move around the pan. Place each ramekin in the pan with the water.  You want the custard to sit in the water bath (bain-marie) so that the bottoms don’t cook too fast compared to the tops. The water bath also prevents the custard tops from cracking because the water bath adds a nice moisture level to the baking environment.

Once all the filled ramekins are in the water bath, check the water level.  You want the water to reach about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Add more water if needed but be careful not to get water into the custard cups.

Return the custard to the oven and bake at 325 for 30-45 minutes.  Begin checking on the custard after 30 minutes.  The custard is done if It is set around the edge, but still has a little jiggle in the center.  You should be able to move the cup back and forth and see a little jiggle, but nothing too runny. Mine usually take about 40 minutes.  (When I use half and half, I usually need to bake up to 50 minutes.) If your custard still doesn’t appear fully done, remove the aluminum covers and leave in the oven another few minutes.

When the custards are set, remove from the oven and let cool on the counter.  Once cool to the touch, place in refrigerator until you are ready to use them.

Caramelizing the tops: Plan to burn the tops just before you want to serve them so that you preserve the crunchy top layer. If you burn them too early, you’ll lose the crunchy burned exterior and end up with a burnt sugar glaze similar to Spanish flan.  It’s still delicious, but not the same. 

The easiest method is to put about a teaspoon or two of brown sugar in a little sieve and sprinkle a fine even layer of sugar across the top of the custard.  Then use a creme brûlée torch to burn the tops of each custard.  You want the sugar to caramelize and leave a crunchy exterior.  Be careful not to burn too long to the point that you overcook the custard. You just need a fine even layer of sugar.  It doesn’t need to be thick.

To keep the custard cold, you can place each ramekin in a bowl of ice as you torch the tops and then serve immediately.  Or return the burnt creme to the fridge or freezer for a couple minutes to chill again before serving.  Both ways work well.

If you don’t have a creme brûlée torch, you can place all the ramekins on a cookie sheet and burn the sugar tops using your broiler.  Keep the door of the oven open and watch the sugar layer closely.  Remove when the sugar bubbles and caramelizing.  Chill slightly before serving.

Note: If you are taking the creme brûlée to a dinner party and don’t think you will be able to burn the tops at the event, you can burn them within an hour or so of serving. You will sacrifice a little of the crunch, but it will still taste amazing! (I’ve had leftover creme brûlées in the fridge that were still a little crunchy the morning after a dinner party when left uncovered in the fridge ....  they make for an incredible breakfast!) 

The egg / sugar mix in the background. The vanilla cream heating in the foreground.

The cooked custard. Tops stay smooth because they were covered while baking. If you left the custard uncovered , your custard might be slightly dimpled....like the skin of an orange.  Don’t worry, this will be covered with the burnt sugar.

The creme brûlée, the torch and the sieve for the sugar.  A thin fine layer is all you need.

Materials used.  These are the actual items I used and or recommend. These are amazon affiliate links. I own the glass cups and the ramekins with the baking tray. I couldn’t find my exact torch, but listed a similar product.  I own the sieve set too. 


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