torched: crème brûlée

Crème brûlée is one of my all-time favorite desserts. It's equal parts crunchy and sweet and creamy, and just SO GOOD. My very thoughtful high school boyfriend gave me a blowtorch for one of my birthdays, so I've experimented a couple times with brûléeing things (it's really, really fun), but crème brûlée has always remained my favorite.

S when my friend James asked me to help him make it because it also happens to be his girlfriend's favorite dessert, I said yes. I forgot to take pictures of the process (again), but it's such a simple and straightforward dessert to make (recipe from Betty Crocker); I think everyone should do it. Plus it's a great excuse to get a blowtorch.


Yields: 6 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes (plus two hours cooling time)


  • 6 egg yolks

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • Boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 °F. In a 13x9 inch pan (like a cake pan or something), place ramekins.

In small bowl, lightly beat six egg yolks with wire whisk (or electric mixer on low, for about a minute).

In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups heavy cream, ⅓ cups sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla until well-mixed. Add egg yolks, beat with wire whisk/mixer until evenly colored and well-blended. Pour cream mixture evenly into ramekins.

Carefully place ramekins into pan, and pour boiling water into pan until it reaches about 2/3 of the way up the ramekins. Don't splash water into it.

Bake 30 minutes or until top is a solid-looking, but still jiggles. Remove from oven and chill in refrigerator for two to four hours.

Okay, this is the difficult part. Blot liquid from the tops, and sprinkle sugar onto the surface of the custards. Tilt the dishes to evenly distribute to sugar. It should be a thick enough layer so you don't see the custard anymore. Move the torch in circular motions around the surface to caramelize it. Wait until it's golden brown but still bubbling, and it'll form a thin shell over the top.

And that's it! This is a dessert which fits perfectly within my cooking philosophy of "impressive-looking-stuff-that's-actually-really-easy." Will definitely be making again. Enjoy :).

Sidenote: We had some leftover custard, so we poured it into shotglasses and made little crème brûlée shots! They were super-cute, and they cooked in the same time as the ramekin ones since the ramekins were shallow. But be REALLY CAREFUL when you're blowtorching them, because it says online that shotglasses that crack easily (we ended up giving up halfway through the batch of shots).