Crème Brûlée (French Burnt Custard) Recipe

Photo of Crème Brûlée (French Burnt Custard)

Crème Brûlée (French Burnt Custard)

Serves 4 to 6

"Burnt Cream" is a classic baked custard topped with a thin, crisp layer of caramelized sugar.


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 whole large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (See Cook's Tip)
  • 6 tablespoons turbinado sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. In a kettle or medium saucepan, bring 8 cups water to boil.
  2. In another medium saucepan, combine milk and cream over low heat. Bring to a low simmer.
  3. In a large, heat-proof bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and pale yellow. Add a cup of hot milk to sugar and egg mixture, whisking constantly. Add remaining milk mixture, a little at a time. Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer into 6 small ramekins or gratin dishes.
  4. Place ramekins in a roasting pan or casserole dish lined with a clean kitchen towel to keep ramekins from sliding. Carefully transfer pan to oven. Remove one ramekin. In its spot, slowly pour hot water into pan, trying not to splash custard as you pour. Replace the last ramekin. Hot water should come halfway up sides of ramekins. Close oven door and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until custard is just barely set.
  5. Carefully remove pan and allow to cool. Remove ramekins from water bath and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
  6. Just before serving, arrange ramekins on a baking sheet. Sprinkle top of each custard with turbinado sugar. Place baking sheet under oven broiler until sugar melts evenly and starts to caramelize. Alternatively, brown each top with a kitchen torch according to manufacturer's directions. Be careful when serving, as rims of ramekins will be hot.
  7. Cook's Tip:
  8. Vanilla bean paste is made with simple syrup rather than alcohol. It contains seeds from the vanilla bean pod, and thus, has a much more concentrated flavor.


Amount Per Serving (based on 6 servings)
Calories: 260
Fat: 12 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 210 mg
Sodium: 40 mg
Carbohydrates: 32 g
Fiber: 0 g
Sugar: 32 g
Protein: 5 g
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