Burnt Cambridge Cream

Merrilees Parker's classic custard derives its delicate flavour from the simple mixture of cream and eggs, with a thin crust of caramelised sugar on top
By Merrilees Parker
Burnt Cambridge Cream
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes plus chilling overnight
  • Effort: medium


  • 685 ml double cream, or equal amounts double and single cream
  • 4 large egg yolks, beaten
  • 60-90 g caster sugar


1. Heat the cream in a saucepan and boil for about 30 seconds before pouring immediately onto the egg yolks and whisk together.

2. Return the mixture to the pan and continue cooking without allowing it to boil. Stir the mixture continually until it thickens and coats the spoon, then pour into a shallow baking dish. Leave to cool completely and refrigerate overnight.

3. Two hours before the meal, sprinkle the chilled cream with an even layer of sugar and place it under a preheated grill on a maximum setting. The sugar will caramelise to a smooth brown crust. You may need to turn the dish in the grill to achieve an even colouring. It is important that this step is done very quickly in order to keep the custard cold and firm and the top crisp and brown.

4. Return to the fridge and chill before serving.

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