Celebrate The Season With a Trio of Creme Brulee Recipes

Desserts such as crème brûlée can capture the best of the season. Delectably smooth and creamy, it is truly comforting, yet it provides a wonderful base for celebrating creativity and inspiration.

Crème brûlée is simply a smooth custard topped by a thin sugar topping caramelized with a culinary torch or your broiler. Even the simplest version is pure decadence, but with a bit of experimentation you can take it far beyond the realms of ordinary.

Celebrate the Season With a Trio of Creme Brûlées

Instead of heavy cream, try making the custard with silky smooth coconut milk, creamy buttermilk, or a tart Greek yogurt. Add your own twist to the custard by stirring in flavorings like rose water, orange flower water, liqueurs, spices, or cocoa.

Try different types of sugar for the topping such as dark Muscavado sugar or granulated sugar flavored with vanilla or lavender. Decorate your unique crème brûlée with equally unique toppings. Try crystallized orange blossoms, violets, or rose leaves.

Let your imagination run wild! For inspiration, here are three of my favorites:

Celebrate the Season With a Trio of Creme Brûlées

Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée

Add a luscious vanilla bean to give a hint of tropical breezes and fan dreams of vacations in warmer climes. Create more depth with a dash of coconut extract and decorate the crème brûlée with the first strawberries of Spring or a cluster of glossy cherries.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • hot water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Add cream, vanilla bean and scrapings into medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir well and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes to let flavors meld. Remove vanilla bean.

In a small bowl, beat first measure of sugar and the egg yolks until mixed and light yellow. Add the cream mixture a bit at a time, stirring constantly. Divide mixture evenly among 6 ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the custard is set, but still wobbly in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove ramekins from the pan and chill at least 2 hours.

45 minutes before serving, remove brûlées from fridge and divide remaining measure of sugar between the ramekins. Spread evenly on top and using a culinary torch, melt the sugar until it browns and forms a crisp top. If you don’t have a culinary torch, place under broiler and watch closely to prevent burning.

Let brûlée sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

Celebrate the Season With a Trio of Creme Brûlées

Espresso Brandy Creme Brûlée

Savor the flavor of cozy winter evenings warmed by creamy cups of coffee by creating one laced with brandy or a dash of rum. Sprinkle with dark chocolate covered espresso beans for additional kick and delightful crunch.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoons instant espresso
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • hot water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place instant espresso in mortar and pestle and grind to fine powder.

Add espresso powder to cream and pour into medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir well and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes to let flavors meld.

In a small bowl, beat first measure of sugar and the egg yolks until mixed and light yellow. Stir in brandy. Add the cream mixture a bit at a time, stirring constantly. Divide mixture evenly among 6 ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the custard is set, but still wobbly in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove ramekins from the pan and chill at least 2 hours.

45 minutes before serving, remove brûlées from fridge and divide remaining measure of sugar between the ramekins. Spread evenly on top and using a culinary torch, melt the sugar until it browns and forms a crisp top. If you don’t have a culinary torch, place under broiler and watch closely to prevent burning.

Let brûlée sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

Celebrate the Season With a Trio of Creme Brûlées

Ginger Nectarine Creme Brûlée Tart

Make the most of ripe fruits by baking a decadent crème brûlée fruit tart. Pour your custard mixture into a par-baked tart crust, edge with the fruit of your choice such as fresh nectarines or apricots, bake, and chill. When ready to serve, simply sprinkle your sugar of choice over the exposed center of the tart, torch as usual and serve in generous wedges.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 par-baked tart crust
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • hot water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 5-6 fresh nectarines, pitted and halved or sliced

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Add cream and fresh ginger into medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir well and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes to let flavors meld. Remove ginger.

In a small bowl, beat first measure of sugar and the egg yolks until mixed and light yellow. Add the cream mixture a bit at a time, stirring constantly. Pour cream mixture into tart shell. Place nectarines cut side up around edge of cream mixture. Place in oven and bake just until the custard is set, but still wobbly in the center, approximately 40 minutes. Remove ramekins from the pan and chill at least 2 hours.

45 minutes before serving, remove brûlée tart from fridge. Spread sugar evenly over exposed crème brûlée (center of tart) and using a culinary torch, melt the sugar until it browns and forms a crisp top. If you don’t have a culinary torch, place under broiler and watch closely to prevent burning.

Let brûlée sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

Photo Credits: jules, Tangopaso, and jules.

Celebrate The Season With a Trio of Creme Brulee Recipes

Krista Bjorn

Canadian born Krista Bjorn has been traveling and exploring for over 20 years and loves every crazy, embarrassing, and wonderful moment. She's lived in Russia and Portugal and now makes her home in beautiful Queensland, Australia, saving her pennies for her next trip. Her food, photography and travel blog is Rambling Tart.

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