Crème brûlée

How can something so simple be so good? The answer is a thin layer of caramelized sugar on top of a perfectly cooked custard. A student of mine wanted to make this at home for his family, so we started testing some recipes. I usually get a few students a year wanting to do this, but often enough – either from using a random recipe from the internet or not having the know-how to reduce our chances of error – we don’t get good results. Crème brûlée is so simple, and if done correctly it will be super tasty. That didn’t happen the first (few) time(s) though, lol.

At first, we used a trusted cookbook written by a former pastry chef from The French Laundry. That recipe had too many egg yolks which led to a stiffer custard (I still think she’s great, though!). Maybe that’s just my opinion, or it could easily be an execution error on our part – I sent it home to a colleague for his wife and she loved it. But, with a few iterations – decreasing the amount of yolks and increasing the milk, we were able to achieve (in my opinion) a better result. Repeated iterations also led us to identify a bunch of tips to avoid issues in the final product (see below). We’ll be using this recipe my classes moving forward.


  • 4 egg yolks, large
  • 50g sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 320g 35% heavy cream
  • 100g milk
  • 20g flavouring extract (4 tsp)

Tools Required:

  • strainer
  • whisk/ spatula
  • 4 ramekins
  • baking dish
  • thermometer
  • torch


  1. In a stainless steel bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar.
  2. Slowly stir in heavy cream, milk and flavouring.
  3. Pour mixture into 4 ramekins.
  4. Place the ramekins into a baking dish filled with water (a bain marie) and cover with aluminum foil or a lid on top.
  5. Steam in a combi oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the custard registers 85°C/185°F with the thermometer. Note: There should be a slight jiggle.
  6. Refrigerate overnight.
  7. When serving, sprinkle granulated sugar on top, caramelized the sugar using a torch. Enjoy!


  • Topping it with fresh fruit brightens the dessert
  • I like putting surprises like a fruit compote at the bottom of the custard
  • You can infuse the cream with herbs, spices, zest, coffee, …

FAQs, Tips, Troubleshooting:

  • Be cautious when mixing the custard batter, to reduce the amount of air.
  • Straining your brûlée mix typically results in a better texture/mouthfeel
  • Resting the mixture overnight will 1) remove the air bubbles, 2) let the mix mature for better flavour.
  • You can also bake in your home oven at 140°C/284°F for approximately 50 minutes.
  • We recommend a torch, a broiler just doesn’t do the trick.
  • When using the torch, make sure the flame is low, this ensures an even caramelization since you can take your time and not worry about burning it.
  • For a perfect finish, you need to have the ramekin in your hand and rotate as your torch to produce an even caramelization.

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