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More Nigella recipes

Creme Brulee

by . Featured in NIGELLA BITES
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Introduction

The first thing you should know about creme brulee is that it's not hard to make. And few puddings are as voluptuously, seductively easy to eat.

I never make mine in little individual ramekins (though there's nothing to stop you if that's what you prefer) but in one large dish: there is something so welcoming about a big bowlful, the rich, smooth, eggy cream waiting to ooze out on the spoon that breaks through the tortoiseshell disc on top.

The first thing you should know about creme brulee is that it's not hard to make. And few puddings are as voluptuously, seductively easy to eat.

I never make mine in little individual ramekins (though there's nothing to stop you if that's what you prefer) but in one large dish: there is something so welcoming about a big bowlful, the rich, smooth, eggy cream waiting to ooze out on the spoon that breaks through the tortoiseshell disc on top.

Creme Brulee
Photo by Francesca Yorke

Ingredients

Serves: 6-8

Metric Cups
  • 600 millilitres double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • approx. 6 tablespoons demerara sugar
  • 2½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • ⅓ cup turbinado sugar

Method

  1. Put a pie dish of about 20cm / 8 inches diameter in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. Half-fill the sink with cold water. This is just a precaution in case the custard looks as if it's about to split, in which case you should plunge the pan into the water and whisk the custard. I'm not saying it will - with so many egg yolks in the rich cream, it thickens quickly and easily enough - but I always feel better if I've done this.
  2. Put the cream and vanilla pod into a saucepan and bring to boiling point, but do not let boil. Beat the eggs and caster sugar together in a bowl, and, still beating, pour the flavoured cream over it, pod and all. Rinse and dry the pan and pour the custard mix back in. Cook over medium heat (or low, if you're scared) until the custard thickens: about 10 minutes should do it. You do want this to be a good, voluptuous creme, so don't err on the side of runny caution. Remember, you've got your sinkful of cold water to plunge the pan into should it really look as if it's about to split.
  3. When the cream's thick enough, take out the vanilla pod, retrieve the pie dish and pour this creme into the severely chilled container. Leave to cool, then put in the fridge till truly cold. Sprinkle with demerara sugar, spoonful by spoonful, and burn with a blowtorch till you have a blistered tortoiseshell covering on top.
  4. Put back in the fridge if you want, but remember to take it out a good 20 minutes before serving. At which stage, put the bowl on the table and, with a large spoon and unchecked greed, crack through the sugary carapace and delve into the satin-velvet, vanilla-speckled cream beneath. No more talking: just eat.
  1. Put a pie dish of about 20cm / 8 inches diameter in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. Half-fill the sink with cold water. This is just a precaution in case the custard looks as if it's about to split, in which case you should plunge the pan into the water and whisk the custard. I'm not saying it will - with so many egg yolks in the rich cream, it thickens quickly and easily enough - but I always feel better if I've done this.
  2. Put the cream and vanilla bean into a saucepan and bring to boiling point, but do not let boil. Beat the eggs and superfine sugar together in a bowl, and, still beating, pour the flavoured cream over it, pod and all. Rinse and dry the pan and pour the custard mix back in. Cook over medium heat (or low, if you're scared) until the custard thickens: about 10 minutes should do it. You do want this to be a good, voluptuous creme, so don't err on the side of runny caution. Remember, you've got your sinkful of cold water to plunge the pan into should it really look as if it's about to split.
  3. When the cream's thick enough, take out the vanilla bean, retrieve the pie dish and pour this creme into the severely chilled container. Leave to cool, then put in the fridge till truly cold. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar, spoonful by spoonful, and burn with a blowtorch till you have a blistered tortoiseshell covering on top.
  4. Put back in the fridge if you want, but remember to take it out a good 20 minutes before serving. At which stage, put the bowl on the table and, with a large spoon and unchecked greed, crack through the sugary carapace and delve into the satin-velvet, vanilla-speckled cream beneath. No more talking: just eat.

Tell us what you think

What 9 Others have said

  • Hi! made creme brulee yesterday and in general it was good, but a bit runny. I think next time I will have to stir the creme longer and on a higher heat plus for me the amount of sugar Nigella suggests is not enough, not enough sweet so I will try to do it next time adding more sugar and stirring longer. I left it in the fridge for 24 hours and now the creme is more or less ok, not that runny as it was before.

    Posted by AnaSer on 6th December 2015
  • I made it for the first time and it was extremely yummy! all the guests loved it and went for seconds, the best part of making this was it was easy and quick to make..... thank you Nigella, just love your cooking style....

    Posted by HinaPatel on 10th February 2015
  • Its exactly what it is, couldn't of been easier and absolutely gorgeous. Even my fussy son loved it.

    Posted by lisafarrant on 22nd February 2015
  • Feb 22, 2014. I am about to make this fabulousness. However, I would like to "one and a half" times the ingredients and am a little concerned. When i do the math, it turns out I need 4 more eggs, 12 eggs. Seems a lot. Really nervous. The other thing is that I do not have a torch so I plan on putting the custard back into the oven and turn on the broiler. We'll see, won't we?

    Posted by geobar on 22nd February 2014
  • Hi i am trying this for the 1st time for my lover on valentine's,hope all goes well.

    Posted by peterahall on 14th February 2014
  • Just love the way you ,Nigella describe making recipes...... I wish you were on TV currently...I will never tire of the way you cook

    Posted by Roseannroseann on 8th February 2014
  • Have only tried this once, had a problem with the cream going runny when using a blowtorch to burn the sugar. Still tasted gorgeous though.

    Posted by craftychef on 10th February 2013
  • I made this for an 80th birthday party celebration in August to universal acclaim! I one and a halved the recipe for 12 people and made it two days ahead. It caused me no problems and was delicious. I used my husband's more powerful blowtorch to "burn" the sugar as the kitchen shop versions are underpowered.

    Posted by Adeleduncan on 9th October 2012
  • This is the most amazing creme brulee. My family and friends can't get enough of it and its oh so easy to make. Thanks Nigella

    Posted by Caz Rollings on 11th May 2012
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