Ultimate crème brûlée

Ultimate crème brûlée

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(64 ratings)

Ready in around 1 hour 30 minutes

More effort

Serves 4
Our professional tips will help you to create this crunchy-and-custardy delight

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: nutrition per serving (and worth it)

  • kcal620
  • fat59g
  • saturates34g
  • carbs17g
  • sugars13g
  • fibre0g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.01g
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  • 2 cartons double cream, 1 large (284ml) plus 1 small (142ml)
  • 100ml full-fat milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 5 large egg yolk
  • 50g golden caster sugar, plus extra for the topping


  1. Preheat the oven to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4. Sit four 175ml ramekins in a deep roasting tin at least 7.5cm deep (or a large deep cake tin), one that will enable a baking tray to sit well above the ramekins when laid across the top of the tin. Pour the two cartons of cream into a medium pan with the milk. Lay the vanilla pod on a board and slice lengthways through the middle with a sharp knife to split it in two. Use the tip of the knife to scrape out all the tiny seeds into the cream mixture. Drop the vanilla pod in as well, and set aside.

  2. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk for 1 minute with an electric hand whisk until paler in colour and a bit fluffy. Put the pan with the cream on a medium heat and bring almost to the boil. As soon as you see bubbles appear round the edge, take the pan off the heat.

  3. Pour the hot cream into the beaten egg yolks, stirring with a wire whisk as you do so, and scraping out the seeds from the pan. Set a fine sieve over a large wide jug or bowl and pour the hot ixture through to strain it, encouraging any stray vanilla seeds through at the end. Using a big spoon, scoop off all the pale foam that is sitting on the top of the liquid (this will be several spoonfuls) and discard. Give the mixture a stir.

  4. Pour in enough hot water (from the tap is fine) into the roasting tin to come about 1.5cm up the sides of the ramekins. Pour the hot cream into the ramekins so you fill them up right to the top – it’s easier to spoon in the last little bit. Put them in the oven and lay a baking sheet over the top of the tin so it sits well above the ramekins and completely covers them, but not the whole tin, leaving a small gap at one side to allow air to circulate. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the mixture is softly set. To check, gently sway the roasting tin and if the crème brûlées are ready, they will wobble a bit like a jelly in the middle. Don’t let them get too firm.

  5. Lift the ramekins out of the roasting tin with oven gloves and set them on a wire rack to cool for a couple of minutes only, then put in the fridge to cool completely. This can be done overnight without affecting the texture.

  6. When ready to serve, wipe round the top edge of the dishes, sprinkle 1½ tsp of caster sugar over each ramekin and spread it out with the back of a spoon to completely cover (Anne Willan’s tip for an even layer). Spray with a little water using a fine spray (the sort you buy in a craft shop) to just dampen the sugar – then use a blow torch to caramelise it. Hold the flame just above the sugar and keep moving it round and round until caramelised. Serve when the brûlée is firm, or within an hour or two.

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Comments (81)

macintyresarah's picture

Was lovely, made for the in-laws went down a treat. Lovely smooth consistency. Cheated a little and used vanilla essence the pods just seem too fiddly. Feeling very pleased with myself, will make again!!

denno42's picture

I am about to make this Creme Brulee for the first time, I understand you can use Vanilla extract if you cannot get Vanilla Pods, can anyone advise me how much extract to use in place of the pods ?

naujoks's picture

What did I do wrong?
Filling the ramekins up to the top as suggested made them bubble over. Subsequently, when they came down again after cooling, the surface wasn't even. Also, when I put the custard in first, it was all smooth, but although it was in the oven for only 30 minutes, the mixture had curdled :(

dhoohar's picture

My 17 year old daughter made this for Mother's Day as it is my favourite dessert and I can honestly say it's better than some I've tasted in good restaurants. Perfect consistency (she cooked it for 40 minutes) and a lovely crispy caramel topping. Perfect! It makes a generous 4 servings. The recipe could easily stretch to 6 by using slightly smaller ramekins.

becky1892's picture

How Long will this recipe keep for? If I make it Saturday will it still be ok to eat on Monday if left in the fridge?

kittydowner's picture

An update from my post y'day:
I made the brulee the night before as the recipe said it could be made a day in advance... However, the following night when I served the brulee, it didn't taste as silky and smooth. So I would suggest to make it the day you wan to have it. Also, can someone let me know how to use the blowtorch? I tried it twice now but the sugar either didn't get melted and caramelized or just got burned! Welcome any advice on this.

kittydowner's picture

My 1st creme brulee and it was wonderful! The brulee was so tasty, just like everyone's comment - smooth and light. I didn't have any vanilla pod so just added a teaspoonful of vanilla extract and it turned out great. I tried using the the blow torch but the top became very watery and the sugar didn't seem to crystalized well. Perhaps I need to let it sit for a bit after heating it up. Will try the blow torch again tonight when serving my guest tonight! Made 4 brulee and since only 3 of us tonight so used one last night to test it! Will do it again for sure.

zetecm4plm's picture

Sorry I don't know where the B word came from, I'm sure I wrote custard. :-(

zetecm4plm's picture

A very easy recipe and tasted delicious. It was worth buying a blowlamp! I did find that the vanilla seeds had all floated down to the bottom of the Bastard which didn't affect the taste but did look a little odd. I think next time I'm gonna try using vanilla extract and see how that turns out. I may put a little fruit in the bottom too.

sokelengl's picture

This best cream brulee I have ever tried. Truly an ultimate brulee! I prepared it with my new remekin dish . Both of them work brilliantly.

angeldrawers's picture

Love this recipe, have made it twice already. Delicate flavour, not eggy, just pure bliss. Classy.

jecurley's picture

I Loved this recipe. I found it made 6, using some recycled ramkins from some GU puds!
I always find my vanilla seeds sink to the bottom, any ideas how to prevent this?

kags150's picture

Loved this - so easy to make. I over melted the sugar topping under the grill, so heat turned the top rather eggy tasting - but otherwise was FAB! Definately make this again.

stella_m's picture

Brilliant recipe! SO easy to make and absolutely delicious. Made these for a dinner party and everyone said they were the best they'd ever had. This is now my go-to dinner party dessert!

mmmmmmmmmmlekker's picture

delicious!!! I have the same problem as Joel with most creme brulees I make. They taste too eggy. This one was perfect and as I don't live somewhere where they sell double creme I just jused normal cream and it still tasted great. Will definately make this again! And I don't need 4 or 6 ramekins, one will do!! And lulu, you can just freeze the eggyolks, no problem.

palmtrees246's picture

This is a really easy receipe. The hard part is finding a supermarket that sells vanilla pods! I don't use a blow torch to caramelise the sugar - I use a grill. I set the grill to the highest setting and keep an eye on it untill I am happy the sugar has caramelised. I have substituted the caster sugar on the top for demerara sugar, which I find caramelises better. TIP: the deeper the tin you put the ramekins in the longer you need to cook them.

runningkitten's picture

Amazing. So easy to make and very satisfying too! I dont have a blow torch so used the grill (keep an eye on it as it will quickly burn) it was delicious!! I wish I had kept it in the oven for the extra 5 mins though (took it out after 30 mins) as it was a tiny bit runny - although this didnt affect the flavour. Yummy.

eileenjb56's picture

Lovely recipe. I added raspberries and blueberries to the bottom of the ramekins. Worked really well!

101eleanor101's picture

Great recipe, I stewed some rhubarb with ginger and placed it underneath which worked really well.


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