Classic crème brulée

For this classic French dessert, Merrilees Parker tries out an old recipe dating back from 1909
By Merrilees Parker
Classic crème brulée
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes plus 3 hrs to chill
  • Effort: medium


  • 550 ml double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 60 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tsp fine raw sugar, or granulated sugar, for caramelising


1. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2 and have a pot of hot water ready.

2. In a saucepan over a medium heat, mix the cream with the caster sugar and cook about 4-5 minutes until steam rises, stirring continually.

3. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and vanilla essence together. Gradually pour the hot cream onto the yolks, stirring constantly. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve set over a bowl and pour into the ramekins.

4. Line a 7cm-deep baking pan with a clean kitchen towel, place the ramekins in the pan and pour in enough hot water to fill the pan halfway up the side of the ramekins. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the centers of the custards shake gently when the pan is shifted.

5. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the ramekins to cool slightly. Then remove the ramekins from the pan, cool to room temperature and chill thoroughly in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.

6. Just before serving, sprinkle each custard with 2 teaspoons of sugar and caramelize the topping with a kitchen torch. If you don't have a torch, you can place the ramekins under a high grill, 5-7cm from the heat source for 3-4 minutes, but watch carefully.

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