Luscious and rich with a subtle sweetness, crème brûlée is everything you want in a classic French dessert. There’s nothing like lightly cracking the caramelized sugar topping with a dessert spoon only to find creamy custard underneath. Every spoonful is silky smooth with a sweetness that satisfies but never overwhelms. This Valentine’s Day, show that you care with this impressive yet surprisingly simple dessert. We’re sharing not one but three crème brûlée variations.
Crème Brûlée – Three Ways
Whether you love a classic, like a bit of ginger in your dessert, or want to keep the romance alive with chocolate, we got you covered. To make this simple, elegant dessert, you’ll need:
1 vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
4 large egg yolks, cold
½ cup plus 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
4 (8-ounce) ramekins
Optional add-ins include:
2 tablespoons grated ginger root
1 ½ teaspoon cocoa powder
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and have a roasting pan with high sides at the ready.
- Split the vanilla bean, if using, and scrape the seeds out with the help of a sharp knife.
- Add the seeds, or vanilla extract, to a small saucepan with the heavy cream and milk. If making ginger crème brûlée, add it to the saucepan as well. Bring the milk and cream to a boil.
- Whisk the eggs, half a cup of sugar, and salt together in a mixing bowluntil foamy. If making chocolate crème brûlée, add cocoa powder during this step.
- Stream the milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture as you continuously whisk until smooth.
- Strain the custard into a large measuring cup (preferably one with a spout) to remove any solids.
- Divide the custard between four ramekins. Transfer them to the roasting pan, then fill the pan with an inch of water. Be sure to pour the water around the ramekins.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until the edges are set, but the desserts jiggle a bit in the center.
- Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature. Once cooled, cover each crème brûlée with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over each custard and caramelize to create crème brûlée’s signature crackly top. To caramelize, either impress your date with your mini blowtorch skills or place under your oven’s broiler until the sugar browns.
- You can make crème brûlée up to 2 days in advance. Just bake, chill, cover with plastic, and store in the refrigerator until it’s time for dessert.
- If making ginger crème brûlée, let the ginger steep in the milk and cream for 20 minutes before proceeding with the remaining steps.
Baking delicious crème brûlée is only one part of the dining experience, so now let’s talk presentation. The custard-based dessert is as versatile as it is delicious. Think outside the box and surprise your special someone on Valentine’s Day morning with crème brûlée and their favorite coffee or tea beverage. Create a cozy, romantic atmosphere with linen napkins, textured ceramic mugs, and neat plate to add visual interest. Alternatively, serve crème brûlée after dinner if you prefer a more classic, elegant approach. All you need is white serveware, polished silver, and crisp napkins to add depth to your table setting, along with fresh berries and whipped cream.