Creme Brule

I decided it was best to make the desserts first.  Because, after all, if everything else went pear shaped we would be good with dessert.

If the mousse had me slightly nervous, the creme brule had me terrified.  But that was kind of the point of the whole exercise.  To try something I might not otherwise try and to enjoy the results, no matter how they turned out.

I don’t have a picture of the creme brulees nicely topped with caramelised sugar.  I ated them.

Sorry.  Well, I am not really sorry, but it does mean I have to make them again just so I can take a picture.  Oops!

Despite seeming to be so beyond my abilities I was amazed to discover that they were really quite simple.  Just a case of warming cream and baking in the oven.  There was one point when I reckoned I had destroyed them, as I was adding the egg into the warm cream and I figured I had just invented a way of making scrambled eggs.  But it was all good, they were perfectly smooth and creamy.  And if I can do it anyone can!

They looked good without the sugar topping, but amazing with it!

I have one confession to make at this point.  I didn’t use a vanilla pod, I used extract.  I know!! A hanging offense but the store, that we travelled over 200kms to get to, didn’t have them fancy things.  So, I made do.  And I am not ashamed of it.  Actually, if they tasted this good with extract I cannot imagine the heaven of a real pod.  But, I intend to find out one day when I track one of them down.

Crème Brule


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 300ml whipping / double cream
  • vanilla pod
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • demarara sugar


Heat the cream gently in a saucepan with the vanilla pod (or extract).

Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together, then slowly pour in the warm cream, stirring continuously.  It might get scary for a moment or two but keep stirring!

Remove the vanilla pod and divide the mixture between the ramekins.

Put the ramekins in a roasting tin, and pour hot water into the tin until it is 2/3 of the way up the edges of the ramekins. Make sure water does not splash into the ramekins.

Put in a preheated oven 310 degrees(160-170 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

Allow to cool (you can put them in a refrigerator to speed this up). They should be completely cold before the final stage.

Sprinkle a thick layer (3mm) of demarara sugar on top of each one. Put them under a high grill, close to the heat, until the sugar has melted together. Watch carefully! If the sugar is melting unevenly turn them around. Should take less than 5 minutes.  Or use a propane blowtorch if you have one to hand.

The creme brulee should now have a ‘crunchy’ top. Eat within 30 minutes or the crust will start to go soft.