Ultimate crème brûlée with a spoon

Ultimate crème brûlée

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(91 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins - 40 mins Plus chilling

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


  • 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…

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


  1. Heat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ 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.

  2. Pour the large and small cartons of double cream into a medium pan with 100ml full-fat milk. 

  3. Lay 1 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.

  4. Put 5 large egg yolks and 50g golden caster sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk for 1 min with an electric hand whisk until paler in colour and a bit fluffy.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Set a fine sieve over a large wide jug or bowl and pour the hot mixture through to strain it, encouraging any stray vanilla seeds through at the end.

  8. 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.

  9. Pour in enough hot water (from the tap) 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Bake for 30-35 mins 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.

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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, questions and tips

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10th Apr, 2013
A superb recipe for the base custard and so easy. The first time I tried it, I used the grill to do the caramel topping. It was OK, but I think the ramekins were a little too far from the (electric) grill. (I used to do these in the 70s and the caramel was perfect, but I had a gas grill at the time.) The second time, I used my new blow torch. This was much better, although my target is that lovely even golden brown layer that splinters when hit with a spoon! May I never be satisfied with my efforts.... Have you ever heard of such an excuse to keep making these?!!!
3rd Apr, 2013
I'm a Brazilian chef and I've tried lots of recipes, including Ladureé's. This is the best recipe ever. Very easy to make, really tastes good and an exceptional texture. My fiance just got crazy!!! She said she's gonna love me forever!!! :)
2nd Mar, 2013
Can you use extra-thick double cream? I have a large pot I need to use up..
27th Feb, 2013
Wow this is one creme brulee! Full of flavour and calories so only reserved for treats or special occasions - this will certainly be on the dinner party menu!
2nd Feb, 2013
Great recipe! Delicious creme brulees. Just a word of warning - don't put your hot ramekins on the cold glass shelf of a fridge! I cracked mine and had to have it replaced.
13th Jan, 2013
Great recipe! Worked perfectly the first time!
4th Jan, 2013
Can someone tell me how to make for 8? Double ingredients? How long in oven. Thankyou in advance!
13th Dec, 2012
Can this recipe be made ahead of time, and if so how long would it keep please? Could I make the custard and just finish off with the toffee before serving? Can't wait to try this, just waiting for my cazuelas! Thanks
13th Sep, 2012
I made this today as it is my brothers favourite dessert and it was his 22nd birthday today, i have never made creme brûlée before as many people said it was difficult but if you follow this recipe closely you will come out with extremely yummy desserts! everyone in my family loved it and my dad said it was the best creme brûlée he had ever had (and thats saying something). Defo worth giving it a go :D
5th Aug, 2012
Wasn't sure how to rate this as there were good and bad things about the recipe. I found it enough for 4 portions (and my ramekins aren't event that big). I used vanilla paste and when I got to the stage where I was supposed to scoop foam out I got a bit confused. It didn't really look like foam and if I did scoop out what I thought was the foam, then I wouldn't have had enough mixture in the end. As a result, when it came out of the oven, there were small bubbles on the surface. I tried to caramelise by putting it under the grill but 20 minutes later, it still hadn't caramelised and I was scared that it would start cooking again. I have an electric grill so that may have been why. Aside from that, the texture was creamy and lovely. Verdict - won't do it again without a blow torch.


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