The literal translation of this rich dessert is “burnt cream.” It describes a chilled, stirred custard that, just before serving, is sprinkled with brown or granulated sugar. The sugar topping is quickly caramelized under a broiler (home or hardware torch) or with a salamander. The caramelized topping becomes brittle, creating a delicious flavor and textural contrast to the smooth, creamy custard beneath. As with all recipes, there are many variations and preferences. It is not uncommon to find Crème Brûlée served warm. The secret to this recipe is to use a good quality chocolate such as Ghiradelli, Valrona or Callebaut. Do not, under any circumstances use Bakers chocolate or a baking white chocolate chip unless it is one of the brands previously mentioned.


4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
4 ounces white chocolate, broken into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 1/3 cup of the sugar until smooth.
  3. In a 2 quart saucepan, bring the whipping cream to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring continuously. Add the white chocolate to the cream. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk the mixture until the white chocolate has melted. Gradually add to the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously until smooth. Add the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into four ramekins or custard cups.
  4. Place the ramekins in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Pour water into the pan (do not allow any water to fall into the ramekins) until the ramekins are sitting in 1 – 1 1/2” of water. Bake 45 minutes, or until set. Gently jiggle the ramekins to determine whether to the Crème Brûlée is done; the centres should wiggle just slightly. Remove from the oven and cool.
  5. Sprinkle with Turbinado or Demerara sugar and torch until slightly burnt.

Serves 4.

A printer friendly version of this recipe


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