This basic vanilla-bean recipe is so versatile and can be used as the base for many different variations of this classic dessert. The only problem is that it goes fast even when you triple and quadruple the batch! My kids like to top with sliced bananas, sprinkle with sugar and then caramelize with the torch. To finish it off, they drizzle it with homemade chocolate sauce to make a banana split creme brulee.

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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place an oven rack slightly lower than center in oven and preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

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  • Whisk milk, cream, 2/3 cup sugar, salt, scrapings from vanilla bean, and split vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat until the mixture just reaches a boil; remove from heat and set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.

  • Whisk egg yolks in a bowl for a few strokes; whisk in hot cream mixture about 1 tablespoon at a time at first, whisking thoroughly before adding the next amount. As the yolk mixture becomes warmer, increase the amount of cream mixture you whisk in to about 1/4 cup at a time.

  • Strain the cream through a fine sieve and spoon into eight 4-ounce ramekins. Discard spent vanilla pod. Set the ramekins into a roasting pan and pour in enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until the desserts are softly set, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the roasting pan and let the desserts cool in the water bath to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours. Desserts will hold for 2 to 3 days in refrigerator before topping with sugar.

  • Sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon of sugar evenly over the top of each dessert. Use a kitchen torch to lightly brown and caramelize the sugar until melted, about 1 minute. Move the torch quickly to avoid burning. Let caramelized topping cool for about 10 minutes, then serve.

Tips

The magazine version of this recipe uses 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract instead of a vanilla bean. Please note differences in cooling instructions.

Nutrition Facts

298.1 calories; 3.4 g protein; 27 g carbohydrates; 216.3 mg cholesterol; 48.4 mg sodium. Full Nutrition

Reviews (6)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
05/10/2013
My husband makes creme brulee almost exactly like this but uses sweetened condensed milk instead of whole milk then uses a 50/50 blend of brown and white sugar to carmalized the top and finishes it with frozen mixed berries (from the grocery store freezer section) - c'est magnifique!!! Read More
(9)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
03/23/2014
Although the taste was good I have two issues with this recipe or perhaps my interpretation of it. By whisking as it says to do you create a lot of bubbles. I read somewhere else using a spatula instead gets rid of the bubbles. My bigger problem though was I could not get the creme to set they came out rather runny. Thoughts? Read More
(1)
10 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 7
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
05/10/2013
My husband makes creme brulee almost exactly like this but uses sweetened condensed milk instead of whole milk then uses a 50/50 blend of brown and white sugar to carmalized the top and finishes it with frozen mixed berries (from the grocery store freezer section) - c'est magnifique!!! Read More
(9)
Rating: 4 stars
05/10/2013
My husband makes creme brulee almost exactly like this but uses sweetened condensed milk instead of whole milk then uses a 50/50 blend of brown and white sugar to carmalized the top and finishes it with frozen mixed berries (from the grocery store freezer section) - c'est magnifique!!! Read More
(9)
Rating: 4 stars
01/06/2013
These came out great in terms of flavor and texture a bit too sweet for my taste but that could easily be adjusted. The only thing I did differently was add a folded tea towel to the bottom of the roasting pan lay the ramekins on it and then fill up with hot water. The towel keeps the ramekins from sliding around and adds and extra layer of insulation for gentle cooking. Read More
(9)
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Rating: 5 stars
08/08/2016
Awesome recipe I left out the vanilla bean 8.99 for one bean at publix used liquid vanilla instead. Very easy to make just take your time mixing the creme with the eggs!! Every one loved it. Read More
(1)
Rating: 3 stars
03/23/2014
Although the taste was good I have two issues with this recipe or perhaps my interpretation of it. By whisking as it says to do you create a lot of bubbles. I read somewhere else using a spatula instead gets rid of the bubbles. My bigger problem though was I could not get the creme to set they came out rather runny. Thoughts? Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
02/22/2017
So good and I am over the moon to finally have found a recipe that calls for actual vanilla bean AND uses a water bath. Love it! Read More
(1)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/23/2018
Very good recipe. It came out very velvety buttery smooth. Only change i made was using 1 3/4c heavy cream and 1/4c of skim bc thats what i have normally in the fridge. And i didn't strain the cream so i could keep the vanilla bean particles in the cream mixture. Otherwise followed everything exactly. For me it only filled 6 ramikins about 1/4" to the top. Will definitely be making this again!! Read More
(1)