Crème Brûlée


This Crème Brûlée recipe is a rich and decadent custard that is topped with crisp caramel topping and comes from Le Cirque in New York City.


Crème Brûlée, a classic French dessert, is a custard that has a crisp sugar topping. The dish takes a bit of patience but never fails to impress. A crunchy caramel layer tops a rich and decadent custard. The moment the spoon cracks the top to expose the creamy custard is our favorite part of eating this dessert.

Divide the custard into ramekins and bake in a water bath at low heat. The custard will need time to chill and set in the refrigerator, at least three hours. It’s an elegant addition to the menu for a dinner party or date. A quick broil melts and caramelizes the sugar. The sugar cools and hardens into a shattering hard caramel that texturally contrasts against the custard, offering crisp sweetness against the rich and creamy interior. If you feel comfortable using a kitchen torch, using it to caramelize the sugar is an easy way to impress your guests.

While this recipe is perfect as is, it can be easily augmented by placing a fresh raspberry or two to three blueberries at the bottom of the ramekin for a fruity surprise underneath the custard. Add citrus zest or try adding one tablespoon of a spirit like Grand Marnier to the custard before adding it to the ramekin. 


  • 4 cups heavy cream

  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

  • Pinch of salt

  • 8 egg yolks

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 cup turbinado sugar, divided, for glazing (see Note)


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Cook cream with vanilla bean and salt in a medium saucepan over moderate heat until surface begins to shimmer.

  2. Beat egg yolks and granulated sugar with a wooden spoon in a large heatproof bowl. Slowly add hot cream mixture, stirring gently. Strain custard into a large measuring cup; skim off any bubbles.

  3. Arrange 8 shallow 4 1/2-inch-wide ramekins in a roasting pan (see Note). Slowly pour custard into the ramekins, filling almost to the top. Set roasting pan in center of oven and carefully pour in enough hot water to reach halfway up sides of ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with foil and bake for about 1 hour, or until custards are firm at the edges, but still a bit wobbly in the center.

  4. Transfer ramekins to a wire rack to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

  5. Preheat broiler to high. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and gently blot surfaces of custards to remove any condensation. Using a small sieve, sift 2 teaspoons of turbinado sugar over each custard in a thin, even layer, tilting ramekins for an even layer of sugar. Broil custards as close to heat as possible until sugar is evenly caramelized, 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Let cool slightly until sugar hardens and serve at once.


If using deeper 3/4-cup ramekins, bake the custards for about 20 minutes longer and reduce the sugar topping to 1 teaspoon per custard.

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