The Sweetest Crumb

Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée

So we’ve been having -40C (with windchill) weather in Edmonton this week. I’m pretty sure my cell phone turned off today just from being too cold. All of this cold weather just makes me want to stay inside and bake all day instead of going to work. Unfortunately, I won’t get a chance to bake anything until this weekend, but today I’ll share a favourite dessert of mine.

Creme brûlée is one of my signature desserts (and also happens to be my dad’s top pick out of all the desserts I make) so it gets made a lot at my place. While it may seem complicated and daunting… it’s really not! I mean how difficult could something with only 4 ingredients be?

For anyone not familiar with it, creme brûlée is a custard-based dessert. The custard is then topped with sugar which gets torched and burned, leaving a thin crunchy layer on top – so delicious and impressive! The contrast of the crunchy, bittersweet top layer and the perfectly smooth vanilla cream makes for a perfect dessert.

So here are some things to keep in mind when making creme brûlée…

Most important is to temper the eggs – don’t add in the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks all at once. That would cook your eggs. Instead, slowly add a small amount of mixture (1-2 oz) to the yolks while whisking the mixture quickly. This will raise the temperature of the yolks and then the remainder of the mixture can be added freely.

The creme brûlée should be cooked in a water bath. Essentially, you place the ramekin dishes in a large glass tray and surround the dishes of creme brûlée with boiling water before baking. This makes sure the creme brûlée cooks quickly and evenly. To prevent your ramekins from sliding around in the tray, you can line the bottom of the tray with a cloth.

To torch your creme brûlée, I recommend a propane gas torch which you can get at a hardware store. These work great and you may already have one in the garage. You can also buy specialty torches for creme brûlée in culinary stores but these are definitely not necessary.

Cooked, un-torched creme brûlée will last about 2 days in the fridge. Torch it right before serving. It also freezes quite well if wrapped in an airtight container.

Enjoy the creme brûlée, guys, and let me know if you have any questions.

Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée

By Genia Rodnyansky Published: January 30, 2013

    So we've been having -40C (with windchill) weather in Edmonton this week. I'm pretty sure my cell phone turned off today just from …


    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 2 cups whipping cream
    • 1/2 vanilla bean


    1. Combine sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl. Mix until evenly combined.
    2. Use a knife to scrape out the vanilla bean seeds. Combine the bean, seeds and whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Simmer for several minutes to allow the vanilla flavour to infuse into the cream.
    3. Remove the cream from the heat and add a small amount of the hot cream mixture (about 1-2 oz) to the yolks, whisking it in quickly. Once the egg mixture temperature has been raised, you can freely add the rest of the cream mixture.
    4. Pass the mixture through a strainer to remove the vanilla bean and ensure an absolutely smooth creme brûlée.
    5. Ladle the mixture into ceramic ramekins, filling each almost to the top. Use the back of a spoon to pop any air bubbles which may have formed on the surface.
    6. Place the ramekins in a large glass tray and fill the tray with boiling water about halfway up the ramekins . Bake at 325F for about 35 minutes. You can tell they are done when the surface jiggles like jello.
    7. Once the creme brûlée is baked, chill for at least 4 hours. Once fully chilled, sprinkle the top of the creme brûlée with enough granulated sugar to coat the surface. Tap off any excess sugar. Use a blow torch at about 2 inches away to torch the top of the creme brûlée. Begin by torching the sides and working your way towards the centre. The surface will bubble and turns a golden brown colour with a few burn marks. Serve immediately.


      2 comments on Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée

      1. Sarah
        January 30, 2013 at 6:10 am (2724 days ago)

        I want three of these immediately :) If I’m going to make it with different flavors, like when you made them with lavender, do I still add the vanilla bean?

        • Genia Rodnyansky
          January 30, 2013 at 7:21 am (2723 days ago)

          It’s up to you what flavour you want the creme brûlée to have. For the lavender honey one I made I left out the vanilla bean just so the other flavours would come out stronger but its definitely up to you and you could easily add it in.


      Leave a reply