Rating: 3.34 stars
708 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 149
  • 4 star values: 166
  • 3 star values: 219
  • 2 star values: 124
  • 1 star values: 50

One of Martha Stewart's favorites, creme brulee's seductive secret lies in the contrast between the brittle caramelized topping and the smooth, creamy custard beneath. French for "burnt cream," creme brulee is best served immediately after caramelizing its sweet, sugary surface.

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Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

Servings:
8
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Ingredients

For Custard
For Topping

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare oven and baking dishes: Heat oven to 300 degrees. Bring a kettle or pot of water to a boil. Place eight 5-ounce baking dishes in a large roasting pan.

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  • Gently heat cream: In a medium saucepan, combine cream and half the sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons). Scrape vanilla bean seeds into pan, then add pod. Heat over medium just until mixture starts to bubble around the edge of the pan, 7 to 8 minutes (do not let boil).

  • Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with remaining sugar and the salt.

  • Temper eggs: Use ladle to pour a small amount of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, then whisk to combine. (This is called tempering and prevents the eggs from curdling.) Add two more ladles of cream mixture, one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Gradually whisk in remaining cream mixture. Strain through a fine sieve into a large liquid measuring cup (to remove the vanilla pod and any cooked bits of egg).

  • Bake: Divide custard evenly among baking dishes. Place pan in oven. Add enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake until custards are just set (they should tremble slightly in center when shaken), 30 to 40 minutes.

  • Chill: Remove pan from oven. Use tongs to carefully remove dishes from hot-water bath and place on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours (or up to 3 days) before serving. The custard will finish setting in the refrigerator. If you like, transfer the custards to the freezer 15 minutes before serving to ensure they stay cold after being bruleed (this is especially important if using the broiler).

  • Caramelize tops and serve: Sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar over each custard. Working with one at a time, pass the flame of the torch in a circular motion 1 to 2 inches above the surface of each custard until the sugar bubbles, turns amber, and forms a smooth surface. Serve immediately.

Reviews (27)

708 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 149
  • 4 star values: 166
  • 3 star values: 219
  • 2 star values: 124
  • 1 star values: 50
Rating: 5.0 stars
12/21/2019
I had tried off and on for years to make good creme brulée but the eggs would curdle or it wouldn't set properly. Since discovering this recipe (in the Cooking School cookbook) I have now been making perfect creme brulée for years! It is so smooth and luscious and my husband enjoys torching the top. It's a very elegant dessert and dinner guests think you have been cooking all day - when in fact it can be made 3 days in advance!
Rating: 1 stars
09/06/2018
I rate this 5 stars excellent, so easy to make. I added a few raspberries to each one as I had it like this in a restaurant like this. My family loved it and thought it was way better than the restaurant. Add a few raspberries before putting in the oven you won’t be disappointed top with a little homemade whip cream and a raspberry in the center of the cream.
Rating: 3 stars
08/23/2018
I made this recipe twice. The first time it never set. The second have time I increased the time to 60 minutes. I have made it twice with this change and it has worked out perfectly. Increase the bake time to 60 minutes people!!!!
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Rating: 5 stars
12/11/2017
Super easy recipe. A guaranteed success every time. My tip... to make sure the ramekins don't slide around in the water bath (Bain Marie) I suggest you lay down a single layer of paper towel in the bottom of roasting pan. It won't burn I promise. Other than that... strain strain strain.
Rating: 5 stars
08/17/2017
I don't know how this recipe got only 3 1/2 stars. This recipe is literally PERFECT. I am a novice baker with picky family and whenever I make this everyone goes crazy for it. I fell in love with crème brule when I had it at a restaurant, and this tastes exactly the same. It is amazing! You have to try it!
Rating: Unrated
02/19/2017
Has anyone tried the recipe using vanilla extract and broiling the sugar topping? I would love to hear how the crème brulee turned out using the extract and oven broiler. Thank you in advance.
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Rating: 4 stars
12/23/2016
This recipe is awesome. Be sure to put it through a sieve. This is very important to make it smooth and creamy. PERFECT!
Rating: Unrated
11/29/2016
Hi, what brand of the baking pan used in the video?
Rating: Unrated
07/20/2015
i was nervous to try this recipe after reading other reviews, everyone made it seem like some complicated thing but it's very very simple. just get the cream mixture pretty hot (without boiling) and gradually add to the eggs, whisking a bunch between each addition so the egg doesn't cook. that's all there is to know the rest is a no-brainer. this was my first attempt at creme brulee and it was out of this world delicious...can't imagine anyone not loving it
Rating: 4 stars
05/28/2015
Like but...I too was afraid of ending up with a runny creme. This has happened to me before with a tarte au citron. Instead, I employed the stove top method followed by baking it au bain marie. Once I had mixed everything,I cooked it on low constantly mixing with a handmixer to keep the eggs from curdling. I heated it until it thickened and then poured it through a strainer. and blitzed it again, then into the oven for about 20 min. Consistency was Gr8. I used a torch for the top :)
Rating: 5 stars
12/29/2014
to bboy7up: a few tips if you are consistently not getting it to gel: 1. let the cream sit for 15 minutes with a lid on top while you whisk your eggs, sugar and salt. 2. in your review, you state that you are adding the eggs one at a time to the hot creme -- it's the other way around! add the hot creme a little at a time to the egg/sugar/salt mixture. 3. it's OK to turn the oven up to 325 degrees and even to cook longer than 40 min... I let mine "accidentally" cook for 60 min with great results
Rating: 5 stars
12/29/2014
best recipe out of 3 that I've tried. thanks, Martha!
Rating: Unrated
03/27/2014
I've always felt creme brulee is best served with the custard just bit below room temperature, and certainly not chilled. So I take the custard filled ramekins out of the fridge about 1/2 hour ahead of serving time. And I use superfine sugar for both the eggs and the topping. I think it caramelizes easier than regular granulated sugar. A few years ago I scored a creme brulee kit from Marshalls...$9.99 for the torch and four ramekins! I love your recipe, Martha!
Rating: Unrated
04/02/2013
Wonderful recipe! My suggestion is to create your own vanilla sugar (place used vanilla bean pods into a jar of sugar). For caramelizing try powdered fruit sugar again flavored with used vanilla bean pods spread evenly removing any excess, light spray of fine mist of water over top, then torch with some dark spots for flavor. Set in fridge to cool.
Rating: Unrated
08/10/2012
Just coming back from Paris for our honeymoon and living in a place where creme brulee doesn't exist, I had to try this recipe. Really, it's as good as the one I had in Paris. It was my first time making it and really, take your time and you will see that it's a pretty easy recipe to make. I have an old oven so mine had to cool for 40 minutes and I did the recipe with 9 yolks and organic pure Madagascar vanilla extract. So good! :)
Rating: 5 stars
07/08/2012
SUPER RECIPE! Wow, this was good! I've tried several creme brulee recipes, with variations in the egg and dairy quotients, but this was by far the best. We have the tiny little shallow dishes that came with the torch, and I used them, as well as reusing some glass dishes from grocery store creme brulee that were deeper. I was afraid the shallow ones were overcooked at 30 min, but they were all lovely (though the deeper ones were slightly softer.)
Rating: 5 stars
09/24/2011
Easy and fail proof recipe. I try to only make it only twice a year as it is so rich. It's a lovely treat.
Rating: Unrated
02/14/2011
This best cream brulee I have ever tried. Truly an ultimate brulee! I prepared it with my new remekin dish . Both of them work brilliantly.
Rating: Unrated
01/13/2011
his recipe tastes great, but i can't ever get the broiling right. I now use a flambe kit from dessertsnowdotcom
Rating: Unrated
01/12/2011
this was great
Rating: Unrated
11/19/2010
This was absolutely delicious! It turned out perfectly, just like one I would order from a gourmet restauraunt. I accidentally let the milk boil, so I took it off the burner and let it cool for about 5 minutes and then started to temper the eggs and it turned out to be just fine. Also, I only have 6 ramekins, so I had some left over custard mixture that I refridgerated and made the next day and it was just as good as the first batch. Great recipe!!
Rating: Unrated
11/05/2010
This recipe tastes great, but i can't ever get the torching right. I now use a flambe kit from www.dessertsnow.com
Rating: Unrated
07/17/2010
i had always wanted to try making creme brulee and im really more of a cake and cookie kind of baker so this was a challenge! i loved working with vanilla bean for the first time and it added AMAZING flavor. the tempering of the eggs was easier than expected just take your time. and biggest tip i would say is let it set in the fridge for over a day. and use 9 yokes! its a little thicker and everyone liked it a little more :)
Rating: Unrated
04/04/2010
This is outstanding. My husband said it's the best he has eaten. Very easy to make; the key is to have the eggs at room temp and don't boil the cream.
Rating: Unrated
02/23/2010
I've made this twice now...its in the refrig. as we speak...I can tell that it didn't firm up again...the first time I made it was runny. I don't know if I'm over cooking the cream and sugar to much at the beginning or if its when I'm wisking the eggs in one at a time....help tell me what to do....I love custard....I know it has something to do w/the eggs.any help out there?
Rating: Unrated
09/29/2009
So easy and very good, just ask my hubby. Great recipe.
Rating: Unrated
03/02/2009
wow this recipe is great :)
Rating: Unrated
02/27/2009
Oooo! Just love it!