Classic Crè­me Brûlée
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
For the custard:
  • 240ml (or 1 cup) whipping cream
  • 100ml (or ⅓ cup + 4 teaspoons) regular milk
  • 70g (or ⅓ cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 14-cm (or 5½-inch) vanilla bean
  • 4 egg yolks
For the caramel layer:
  • 4 tablespoons of cane sugar
  1. To a medium-sized saucepan, add the cream, milk and half the granulated sugar. Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lenghtwise, scrape out the seeds with the tip of your knife and add the seeds and the bean to the cream mixture.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the yolks with the remaining granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons of the cream mixture. Set aside.
  3. Gently heat the cream mixture over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture reaches scalding point, lower the heat to low and allow the vanilla to infuse into the cream for 5 minutes (or an hour, if you’ve got time. In that case, take the pan off the heat and cover with a lid). In the meantime, preheat your oven to 95°C/200°F.
  4. Crank the heat back up and bring the cream to a boil again. Take the pan off the heat and slowly drizzle the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking continuously to prevent the eggs from curdling.
  5. Don't put the pan back on the heat to cook the eggs as you would when you're making custard. Instead, divide the mixture over 4 200ml (or 6-ounce) ramekins. Allow the ramekins to sit undisturbed on the counter for about 1 hour if you have the time, or use a blow torch to quickly heat the surface of the cream mixture to get rid of any bubbles. This step is totally optional, but it will result in a smooth surface once the crème brûlée has cooked.
  6. Place the ramekins on an oven rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until only the center of the custard wobbles slightly when you gently shake the ramekins.
  7. Place the ramekins on a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
  8. Once cool, place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.
  9. Five minutes before serving, sprinkle a tablespoon of cane sugar onto each crème brûlée, twisting and shaking the ramekins to create an even layer of sugar. Next, light up your blowtorch again.
  10. Holding the blowtorch about 5 cm or 2 inches from the surface of the crème brûlée, start moving around the edge of the ramekin first in slow circles. The sugar will bubble as it caramelizes. Once the edges are done, the center will probably have browned a little as well. If it’s already brown enough, don’t caramelize any further. However, if the caramelization is too light, circle the center of the desserts with the flame until the sugar has caramelized.
  11. Allow the caramel layer to cool for 1 or 2 minutes, then serve immediately. Enjoy!
Recipe by The Tough Cookie at