Vanilla Crème Brûlée

A Bite Away From Paris

If you only knew the number of times I’ve let myself get overtaken by a rush of excitement in ordering a creme brûlée with misled hope, like we all do. Anticipating that moment your spoon shatters its sweet glistening layer of amber colored glass, sinking into the world of velvet ivory cream below it. Only for it to show up at the table as nothing but an underwhelming, all too liquidy custard topped with a half-scorched/half-assed coating of not so melted sugar. Bringing you back to the harsh reality that you are not in fact having dinner at a dimly lit bistro in central Paris, surrounded by the sounds of smooth jazz and a faint smell of Chanel No. 5 mixed with a surprisingly pleasant note of distant tobacco smoke. But rather having your happy hour buzz killed by someones crying child while ordering off the dessert menu at a Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Adding a very on brand end to an overpriced and underwhelmingly average meal disguised in a suit of franchised luxury. 

Well, today is the day we break the stigma that this is a dish too daunting to make at home, because the truth of the matter is once you get this down, you’ll be able to put all these chain restaurants to shame. I’ve spent months perfecting a recipe that I believe just might restore your faith in how truly decadent a well made creme brûlée can be yet still keeping it easy enough to throw together for everything from dinner parties to a romantic attempt to make an impression on your Hinge date. 

What You Need

8 Egg Yolks

2  Cups Heavy Cream

1 Vanilla Bean OR 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Pinch of Salt

3/4 Cup Sugar

Extra Sugar For Brûlée Top (About 1.5-2 tbs each)

Ramekins or ceramic cups to cook them in

Deep Dish Pan Large Enough To Fit Your Ramekins

Kettle or Pot of Hot Water

Sauce Pan


Preheat oven to 300- if your oven runs hot, try more 290 F (convert to C) With this, it’s always better to play it safe and run low. 

First things first, you’re going to set your stove to medium-high, measure out your heavy cream into the sauce pan and get that on the burner. 

At the same time,  put a kettle or pot of water on to boil and leave it be while you do everything else.

While that heats up, cut your vanilla bean down the middle and while holding it in place at the top with your thumb, slow and steadily drag your knife flat down the entirety of the inner bean. All those seeds should collect. You can put them in a neat little pile for now or directly into the cream mix if you’d like. Repeat on the other side. 

*Either save pods for vanilla extract or throw the whole pod in cream to infuse. 

Now start cracking and separating your eggs. You can save the egg whites for breakfast or cocktail hour or challenge yourself to a meringue or French macaron double feature bake off if you’re feeling bold. 

Use my totally professional and not at all “frowned upon by most certified cooking schools” technique of tossing eggs back and forth between shell halves or simply using hands to cradle the delicate golden yolks until all 8 are in resting peacefully in a bowl.

Then add in your sugar and gently whisk until smooth and slightly more pale than before. 

*Be sure not to leave your sugar sitting in the eggs unmixed as it will start to “cure” them which will make for a potentially grainy finish. 

If you’re using vanilla extract instead of beans, now is the time to add that to your eggs/sugar mix. 

Check to see if your cream is hot now. Keep an eye on it CLOSELY as disaster can happen in seconds. If it boils over and then gets caught in your burner it’ll turn your kitchen into an absolute dumpster fire and you’ll end up having to disassemble and scrub burnt cream out of your stove while fantasizing about the distant dream of the night you were supposed to be enjoying-sitting on your couch unwinding over dessert and a solid candle lit movie binge. So lets avoid that disaster at all costs shall we?

All you want is a light simmer of bubbles forming around the edges. Take it off the heat add your vanilla beans so it can infuse. Give it a good whisk to scatter those beautiful little flecks like stars across a galaxy.

Now let it cool for a sec. You don’t want it too hot to where it’ll scramble your eggs on contact, but still hot enough to raise the temperature of the mix so it’ll cook quicker and more evenly in the oven. Once it’s had a bit to breathe, add your pinch of salt to the cream, whisk again to dissolve then slowly stream a splash off your cream mix into the egg mix, whisking continuously. You should see a stunning marbling start to happen as the two combine, mix until those streaks disappear. Add more little by little, whisking as you go until fully combined.

Ladel or carefully pour your mix into your ramekins until about 3/4s of the way up. Gently place them in your pan so they’re laying flat. Then place the whole pan in the oven and pour your water into it at the corner so it doesn’t get messy. You want it to go about half way up the side of the ramekins. 

Set your timer for 25—30 minutes depending on how your oven runs.  Unless you’re making a v large version, then add 5 minute increments, checking each time. 

When done they should be set around the edges but still ripple in the center when touched or wiggled. Overbaking is where things tend to go terribly wrong. TRUST ME, they will thicken and become more firm after resting.

 ake them out of the water bath and let cool completely before moving into fridge so as to not crack. 

As tempting as it may be to dig in, you’re going to have to pop these babies in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours but ideally over night so they can fully set and give you the thick, rich, irresistible texture you really want. 

Now that the time has come and you’re ready to serve, sprinkle your sugar evenly across the surface of your not yet brûlée’d creme. Turn on your handy little culinary flame thrower and torch away. Be sure to keep it moving around so the sugar melts evenly. It’ll start to turn into clear little beads then darken and roll together until forming a golden crust. Now you can stop here, but if there’s one thing I’m all for it’s taking things a questionably step too far and going the overly indulgent mile. If you’re like me and want a satisfying brûlée crack loud enough to wake the neighbors, with an incredible contrast of bittersweet caramel crunch with the unbelievably silky cream, add an extra layer of sugar and repeat. 

*Creme brûlée literally translates to burnt cream, do it justice and torch tf out of the sugar please.

Lastly, as painful of a wait it may be, let these sit for just a few minutes more before goin in for the kill. You want the sugar you just caramelized to cool and harden. It would be such a shame to have made it this far just to deprive yourself of everyones favorite part due to a mere second of impatience. 







 Shatter that lovely little disk and dig in. <3

I hope this recipe works out just as amazing for you as it has for me!

May your dessert game forever be leveled up, even if just a bit.

Note that vanilla bean is my go to, simply because it’s undeniably delicious( see video above for more detail on why it’s the best) don’t be shy with custom tailoring this to your taste. You can use these ratios as a base and add your own flavors like citrus zests, or infuse different spices or teas as long as you’re not adding too much liquid to the mix that could throw it off texturally. To improvise, at the point where the cream is heating, simply throw the flavoring element of your choosing in as a replacement or addition and let it infuse for a few minutes. Simply pour it through a strainer when adding it to your egg mixture and whisk in as you would with the original instruction. Easy peasy. 

Be sure to tag me in all of your new  endeavors and feel free to reach out with questions or troubleshoots and I’m happy to help.