Creme Brulee, Make Ahead

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    To avoid splashing hot water into ramekins, I place the baking sheet in the oven and ladle hot water into the pan.


  1. 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise with a paring knife
  2. 4 c heavy cream
  3. 2/3 c granulated sugar (4 2/3 oz)
  4. pinch salt
  5. 10 egg yolks
  6. 8 to 12 t turbinado sugar or Demerara sugar


  1. Remove the top rack, and adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Place a kitchen towel on the bottom of a large baking dish or roasting pan and arrange eight 4 to 5-ounce ramekins (or shallow fluted dishes) on the towel; set aside.
  3. Bring a kettle of water to a boil over high heat.

  4. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean. Combine the vanilla seeds, vanilla bean pod, 2 cups of the cream, granulated sugar, and salt together in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and let steep to infuse the flavors, about 15 minutes.
  6. After the cream has steeped, stir in the remaining 2 cups cream to cool down the mixture.
  7. Whisk the yolks together in a large bowl until uniform.
  8. Whisk about 1 cup of the cream mixture into the yolks until loosened and combined; repeat with 1 more cup of the cream.
  9. Add the remaining cream and whisk until evenly colored and thoroughly combined.
  10. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a 2-quart measuring cup or pitcher, discarding the solids. Pour or ladle the mixture evenly into the ramekins.
  11. Gently place the baking dish with the ramekins on the oven rack. Pour the boiling water into the baking dish, being careful not to splash any water into the ramekins, until the water reaches two-thirds the height of the ramekins.
  12. Bake until the centers of the custards are just barely set and are no longer sloshy, and a digital instant-read thermometer inserted in the centers registers 170°F to 175°F, 30 to 35 minutes (25 to 30 minutes for shallow fluted dishes). Begin checking the temperature about 5 minutes before the recommended time.
  13. Transfer the ramekins from the baking dish to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.
  14. To Store

  15. Wrap each ramekin tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  16. To Serve

  17. Unwrap the ramekins; if condensation has collected on the custards, place a paper towel on the surface to soak up the moisture.
  18. Sprinkle each custard with about 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (1 1/2 teaspoons for shallow fluted dishes); tilt and tap the ramekin for even coverage.
  19. Ignite a kitchen torch and, following the manufacturer’s instructions, caramelize the sugar by holding the end of the flame about 1 inch from the surface of the custard until the sugar melts, then burns to a golden brown, proceeding the same way until the entire surface is deeply golden brown and hard.
  20. Refrigerate the ramekins, uncovered, to rechill, about 30 minutes (but no longer).

Picture of Recipe

Creme Brulee, Make Ahead - Picture of Recipe
Serves: 12 desserts, using 6 oz ramekins
Course: Dessert
Type of Food: Pudding/Mousse/Parfait,Vegetarian
Ethnicity/Origin: French
Key Ingredient: Eggs
Difficulty: 3 - Difficult
Make Ahead: Yes
Prep Method: Stovetop,Oven Bake,Refrigerator,Kitchen Torch
Themes/Holidays: Valentine's Day

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