Crème Brûlée

I hope you enjoy those accents in the title, because I don’t know when we’ll see them again.

My wife loves crème brûlée, but all the recipes she has seen look daunting. Simmer things on the stove, then bake them in the oven in a water bath, hot ramekins, tongs, &c. — too many opportunities to go wrong.

But one of the things my wife brought to this marriage was a kitchen torch that she and her mother found on the clearance rack at Target years ago. The torch went unopened and unused until last night.

So it came down to New Year’s Eve 2010, and we were planning to have an early dinner out at La Madeleine, when my wife suggested we overcome our fears and make some crème brûlée for dessert.

Then she got out the kitchen torch (still in the box!), and realized that there was a recipe on the back of the box, and it looked too easy to be true (no oven! no water bath!), so we went for it.

I think we just found ourselves a new tradition.

Crème Brûlée

from Wilton Cake


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbs white sugar
  • 1⅓ cups whipping cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs sugar (turbinado or white) for topping


Beat egg yolks in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until thick and light yellow, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar.

Heat cream and salt in small saucepan over medium heat just until hot to the touch. With mixer running, slowly pour half the cream into the egg mixture; stir egg mixture back into the remaining cream in the saucepan (tempering eggs).

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, 5-10 minutes. Do not boil!

Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour into ceramic dishes. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Do not let plastic wrap or foil cover touch the surface of the custard.

Before serving, sprinkle ½ Tbs sugar (turbinado or white) onto each dessert and gently broil tops with kitchen torch until sugar is melted and slightly brown. You can eat them now or put them back into the fridge for up to 30 minutes before serving.


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