Why creme brûlée is the king of custards — and a recipe that delivers every time

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As I mentioned in my last post, my sister Sam encouraged me to get back in the food blog game. In honor of her, I thought I would share the recipe for one of her favorite desserts — creme brûlée.

If you’ve had a creme brûlée before, you likely ordered it at a restaurant. That’s often where we opt for such decadence, especially when we feel uncomfortable in the kitchen or don’t have the time for such extravagances. In the end, however, you are paying for the convenience.

Most restaurants charge $7-$10 a pop for these custardy delights. But you don’t have to cough up that much money or wait for a special occasion to savor this sweet. Assuming you have sugar, eggs and vanilla on hand, the only out-of-pocket cost for most people will be the heavy cream. At $5-$8 for a quart (which will produce at least 6 ramekins), you’re already saving money. And even if you dish out extra for vanilla bean (trust me, it’s worth the splurge), you’re still coming out better by making it yourself.

And despite its French name, creme brûlée really isn’t difficult to make.

For a basic creme brûlée, I recommend Alton Brown’s recipe. It’s straightforward and turns out spot on every time. The trick is managing the heat in various steps (i.e. adding the cream to the eggs and sugar and during baking), something Brown expertly navigates you through.

If you don’t have a torch to caramelize your sugar topping, you can cook it under the broiler. But I highly recommend investing in a torch. It’s been a great addition to my kitchen (s’mores anyone?). (And yes, I like mine a little more burnt.)

Once you’ve got the basics down, consider expanding your flavor profiles. While the vanilla custard will always be my favorite, I wholeheartedly endorse the adventure of experimentation. In fact, I hope to try out this Pineapple Creme Brûlée sometime soon.

Maybe I’ll even make it for my sister.

(P.S. My sister loves creme brûlée so much she’s thinking of using the moniker for her homemade bath bombs, which she plans to sell soon on Etsy. Check out her store here.)

 

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