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Creme Brulee without a Blowtorch | WednesdayNightCafe.com

Creme Brulee without a Blowtorch

You don’t need any fancy equipment to make this rich vanilla custard topped with a crunchy caramelized sugar crust. This classic French dessert can be made in your home kitchen, with only four ingredients. You won’t believe how easy it is until you try!
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
+ Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 4
Author Tara Leung


  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup, plus 4 tablespoons white granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • optional garnish: raspberries, mint leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Fill a teakettle with water and bring to a boil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Add cream and whisk until combined. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a large measuring cup or pitcher, or a second mixing bowl.
  3. Place 4 (6 ounce) ramekins on a roasting pan. Pour or ladle mixture into ramekins, leaving slightly less than ¼ inch space from the top. Gently pop any bubbles on the top. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it reaches about ½ inch high. Be careful not to let water get in the custard.
  4. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the custards are just set. The center should not be liquid but should be very jiggly. Let cool 10 minutes, then carefully remove ramekins from roasting pan. Transfer to fridge and chill at least 2 hours.
  5. When almost ready to serve: If there is any condensation on the top of custards, gently dab with a paper towel to dry. Transfer custards to freezer and freeze for 15 minutes. Arrange oven rack right under broiler. Preheat broiler to high. After freezing, place custards on a sheet pan and sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over each custard. Make sure sugar is in an even layer. Broil for 4-5 minutes, rotating as needed so they broil evenly. Watch closely the whole time. (If this is your first time making creme brulee, you may want to broil just 1 at a time to get the hang of it.) With an electric oven, you may need to crack the door open so the coil stays on (glowing orange). I found when the coil turned off, the sugar did not brown. Remove from oven when the sugar turns brown. Holding the ramekin with oven gloves, tilt it back and forth while the melted sugar is still liquid to help evenly distribute.
  6. Let cool 5 minutes for sugar to harden before serving. (You can chill up to 1 hour before serving, but not longer.)

Recipe Notes

If you do have a kitchen torch, instead of broiling, hold the torch at a 45 degree angle 3 to 4 inches from the top of the custard and move the flame quickly until the surface is caramelized. I don’t own one, but I did this when making creme brulee at a cooking class. But if you do have a kitchen torch, you know what you’re doing!