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Classic Crème Brûlée

6 servings
  • Preparation time: 25–40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Cooling time: 2 hours
  • Refrigeration time: 6 hours or overnight, plus 2 hours on day of serving
  • Ingredients
  • For the custard
  • butter, for greasing
  • 4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 40 g (1½ oz) caster/superfine sugar (3 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) single/table cream (1¼ cups)
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
  • For the topping

  • 6 tbsp golden caster/granulated sugar, if using a chef’s blowtorch
  • 115 g (4 oz) caster sugar/granulated sugar (½ cup), if not using a chef’s blowtorch
  • You will also need 6 x 150 ml, 5 fl oz (⅔ cup)heatproof ramekins


  • Method
  • For the custard
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) gas 3.

  • Lightly grease ramekins with butter and put to one side.

  • Have some boiling water ready.
  • Meanwhile, line a deep-sided ovenproof dish or small roasting pan with a layer of kitchen paper and sit the six ramekins on the paper (the paper prevents the ramekins from slipping).
  • Next pour both creams into a pan and heat until scalding. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.

  • While the cream is cooling, put the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract into a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  • Then gradually pour in the cream, while whisking at the same time, until the cream and egg mixture is blended together.
  • Strain the custard into a jug and then divide amongst the six ramekins.
  • Carefully pour enough of the boiling water into the ovenproof dish or roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes as the custard still needs to have a slight wobble to it.
  • Remove the dish from the oven and leave the ramekins in the water until the water has cooled.
  • Now take the ramekin dishes out of the water, cover them and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

  • For the topping, using a chef’s blowtorch
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly over the custard in each ramekin. The sugar needs to cover the custard completely.
  • Now caramelize the sugar under a direct flame.

  • Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.

  • For the topping, without using a chef’s blowtorch
  • First, have a piece of parchment paper ready on a chopping board.
  • Next, put the sugar in a stainless steel pan and add just enough water to dampen the sugar.
  • Place over a low heat and stir the sugar until completely dissolved. Then increase the heat to medium–high. Without stirring, leave the sugar to bubble fiercely. When the bubbling lessens and the sugar has turned a pale straw colour it will be ready.
  • Carefully, pour the caramel onto the paper (it will be extremely hot) and leave it to become cold.
  • Now turn on the grill/broiler to high and leave for 5 minutes to become really hot.

  • The caramel will have hardened on cooling. Break it into small pieces and blitz in a food processor or blender until there are really fine granules (finer than caster/superfine sugar).
  • Sprinkle evenly over the custard in each ramekin, right to the edge, so that the custard is completely covered.
  • Put the ramekins on a baking tray/sheet and place under the heat source, as close as possible. Cook for less than a minute, not letting the sugar burn. The heat just needs to melt the sugar.
  • Leave to cool and then refrigerate for two hours before serving.
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