Crème brûlée is French for "burnt cream." It's all about the contrast between the crisp caramelized topping and smooth, creamy custard beneath.
Some people have the impression that this is a difficult dessert to make. Truthfully, it isn't, if you follow a few tried-and-true steps. The first time I made it (in my twenties) it turned into scrambled eggs, because I did not temper the eggs. Over/under-baked the custard? Burned the sugar topping? Been there, done that. One thing is certain, I do learn from my failures.
That said, this particular recipe is pretty fool-proof and simple, a solid "go to" time and time again. Several years ago, I had a client who wanted a small dessert (with no leftovers) once a month. She adored custards, so I made the family a different flavored crème brûlée every month for a year.
Once you've tried making this lemony custard, you can go nuts and make pumpkin, chocolate, espresso, butterscotch, bourbon-maple, eggnog, ginger, Earl Grey–the flavor possibilities are endless.
After the recipe, there are some very extremely helpful tips. Please check them out before you start baking!
One nice aspect of this dessert is that it's very easy to adjust. You can easily make 4 or even 2 (which I do when it's just the BF and me) servings, if desired.
Also, you don't need a butane torch. If I'm doing 8 or more custards I will place all on a baking sheet and put them under the broiler. If you do this, you need to place them back in the fridge for awhile to cool, but I'm okay with that, as this keeps the BF calm (he gets nervous when I break out the butane).
Have fun with this one!
Adapted from: Bon Appetit, June 2005 and most of the "Tips" from Simply Recipes blog
Number of servings: 8
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the bay area. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.