Creme Brulee At Home Without A Torch

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Growing up, my favorite dessert to order at a restaurant was creme brulee. Who could resist shattering that burnt sugar topping just to find creamy custard underneath? I certainly couldn’t.

Creme Brulee without a torch! Make vanilla creme brulee with an irresistible sugar topping at home with this recipe! via MonPetitFour.com

Creme Brulee in Paris

When I visited Paris for the first time, I told my best friend that we were going to have to go somewhere to eat this famous dessert. I mean, I can’t go to Paris and not eat creme brulee, right?

My best friend knew just the place. We visited a quaint bistro on the corner of Rue du Cherche-Midi and shared a big ramekin of creme brulee between the two of us.

It was absolutely perfect. Better than perfect. The custard layer was silky smooth, without a trace of scrambled egg.

The topping was burnt to perfection, producing a crisp shatter when poked at with my spoon. As I sat there licking my spoon in pure delight, I thought to myself that Paris suited me very well.

Creme Brulee without a torch! Make vanilla creme brulee with an irresistible sugar topping at home with this recipe! via MonPetitFour.com

Making Creme Brulee At Home

Alas, reality swooped in and I had to come back home where perfect creme brulee was hard to come by. Instead, I decided to give it a try at home for another chance to have my senses enveloped by fragrant vanilla and sugar.

Making creme brulee at home is less intimidating than you might think. If you’ve made your own custard or pastry cream before, then you know the importance of tempering your eggs and whisking vigorously.

The batter is poured into individual ramekins, which are then placed in a bain-marie (a water bath) and baked at a low temperature for about 1 hour. The batter will look slightly set when it’s done, but should still have a good tremble when it’s given a shake.

Using the Broiler

Traditionally, the custard is cooled then covered in a sprinkling of sugar before it’s torched. A torch is handy in giving the creme brulee that burnt topping without really heating the rest of the previously chilled creme.

But there’s a workaround if you don’t have a torch. After cooling the custard and sprinkling sugar on top, you can simply place the ramekins directly under your oven broiler, and carefully watch the sugar burn and form that glorious topping.

Creme Brulee without a torch! Make vanilla creme brulee with an irresistible sugar topping at home with this recipe! via MonPetitFour.com

Creme brulee is a wonderful dessert for a dinner party, as you can make it ahead (minus the last minute sugar topping). You could also cut this recipe in half and make it for you and your special someone for a birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s Day. Nothing says I love you like a ramekin full of creme brulee.

Creme Brulee without a torch! Make vanilla creme brulee with an irresistible sugar topping at home with this recipe! via MonPetitFour.com

Creme Brulee

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Creamy vanilla custard baked until set, then topped with a caramelized sugar topping. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • turbinado sugar, or any kind of coarse sugar granules, for the top

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 320°F. Bring a kettle full of water to a boil. Meanwhile, In a medium saucepan, warm the cream just until it's beginning to simmer along the edges of the pan. Don't let the cream boil! Stir in the vanilla bean paste once the cream is warm. Turn the heat off.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the granulated sugar together until thick and pale. Stream in 1/4 cup of the hot cream mixture, whisking vigorously as you do. Continue to stream in another 1/4 cup, again whisking the entire time. Pour in the rest of the hot cream and whisk until everything is blended together.
  3. Use a ladle to distribute the batter among 5 (6 oz.) ramekins. Place the ramekins in a large casserole dish and place the dish in the oven. Use the kettle spout to pour the hot water into the casserole dish, pouring enough water so that the water almost reaches the top of the ramekins. Be careful not to get any water into the ramekins.
  4. Bake the custard for 1 hour just until the centers are slightly wobbly. If needed, after 1 hour, raise the heat to 350°F and bake for another 10 minutes until you've achieved the desired doneness. Remove the ramekins from the casserole dish and let them cool to room temperature. Wrap the ramekins tightly in plastic wrap and freeze.
  5. To brulee, sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of the turbinado sugar over each frozen creme brulee. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet under the oven broiler (500°F) for about 1 minute, constantly checking it and rotating the pan so that all of them are evenly bruleed. Let the burnt sugar topping set for a few minutes before serving. 

Notes

If you decide to make this recipe for 2 people, divide the recipe in half and use 8 oz. ramekins.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 5 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423
Creme Brulee without a torch! Make vanilla creme brulee with an irresistible sugar topping at home with this recipe! via MonPetitFour.com

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28 thoughts on “Creme Brulee At Home Without A Torch”

    • Hi Chaliss, you will need some kind of oven-safe dish. Ramekins or shallow crock bowls work best. Thanks!

      Reply
    • Hi Bren! Yes you can totally refrigerate it. So with a proper torch, you’ll heat some of the custard underneath the sugar but usually 20 min in the fridge after that can help counteract the heat and chill the custard again. With the oven broiler, the whole custard warms up so it’s more like 40 min in the fridge after bruleeing to counteract that. The idea of popping the custard into the freezer before bruleeing is just a way to help maintain the custard’s cool temperature if you were to use the oven broiler method to brûlée. Hope that makes sense!

      Reply
  1. I have a question. So when I will brulee it can it be when it is right out of the freezer or does it have to be in room temperature to brulee it.

    Reply
    • Hi Valeria! If you’re broiling it in the oven using the no-torch method, I would do broil it straight out of the freezer so that the creme brulee is at least room temperature when it comes out of the oven vs. ending up being really warm the way it would be if it had gone into the oven already being room temperature. Hope that makes sense!

      Reply

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