Baking Blog

How to Make Restaurant-Quality Crème Brûlée Without a Torch

Do you think that making restaurant-quality desserts requires a pastry degree and tons of special equipment? Well, you’re wrong. To prove the point, here’s a tutorial on how to make crème brûlée without a torch. This recipe is downright simple: it requires less than 10 minutes of prep work, requires no special equipment, minimal dishes to clean, and yields a delicious result. 

How to make creme brûlée without a torch

How to make perfect crème brûlée. No blow torch required!

Classic crème brûlée via Craftsy instructor Nick Malgieri; other photos via CakeSpy

Make creamy, dreamy custards at home!

Creamy, Dreamy Custards Craftsy Class

Impress with classic crème brûlée, decadent lemon curd, satisfying panna cotta & more! Popular instructor Gale Gand shows you how to whip up these crowd-pleasing treats in these HD video lessons.Enroll Now »

You’ll attain champion cook status at your next party when you whip up this easy crème brûlée recipe, featuring a smooth, creamy vanilla-scented custard with a crisp caramelized top that cracks perfectly when your spoon makes contact. Ooh la la! 

How to make crème brûlée without a torch

Makes 4 (8-ounce) ramekin servings

For the custard:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Pinch of salt 

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Step 1:

Position a rack in the middle position of your oven. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Have your ramekins and a large casserole pan off to the side, at the ready.

Step 2:

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar. Whisk vigorously until the mixture becomes creamy, cohesive and lemony in color. Add the cream, vanilla and salt. Whisk until smooth and combined. 

Creme brûlée mixture

Step 3:

Carefully divide the mixture between your four ramekins. It should fill them about 2/3 to 3/4 full. If your ramekins have bubbles on the sides, try your best to pop them with the side of a spoon.

Step 4:

Pour about 1/3 inch of water in your baking pan. Place the ramekins in the water, so that the sides are submerged. The water should come about halfway up the ramekins. If the water level is too low, gently pour more water in the side of the pan, avoiding sloshing water into the ramekins. 

Making creme brulee in bain-marie

Step 5:

Place the baking pan with the ramekins in the preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, checking every 5 minutes after the 40 minute mark. The cook time can vary depending on the thickness of your ramekins. You’re looking for the custard to be mostly “set” with a little jiggle in the middle. Remove the pan from the oven, and gently remove the ramekins from the hot water by lifting with a spatula. Set on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to cool for about an hour. You want the custard to be completely set before moving forward.

Remove custard from pan

Step 6:

Near the end of your cooling time, set the oven to the broil setting. Place the ramekins back on a baking dish (no need for a water both this time). Make sure that the tops of your custards are free of condensation (their naturally moist texture is fine, but you don’t want any beads of moisture). If needed, gently blot the tops with a clean paper towel. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the tops of the custards.

Sugar topping

Step 7:

Place the baking pan in under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, monitoring closely, or until the sugar has melted into a satisfyingly crispy, browned crust. Enjoy your perfect crème brûlée!

Creme brûlée, ready to enjoy

Make creamy, dreamy custards at home!

Creamy, Dreamy Custards Craftsy Class

Impress with classic crème brûlée, decadent lemon curd, satisfying panna cotta & more! Popular instructor Gale Gand shows you how to whip up these crowd-pleasing treats in these HD video lessons.Enroll Now »

14 Comments

MB

Taking them from the freezer to the broiler won’t cause the ramekins to crack?

Reply
Jessie Oleson Moore

Hi there MB, you don’t need to freeze them, just refrigerate. They will be under the broiler for such a short time that I have never had an issue – even with dollar store ramekins. That having been said, I don’t want to say that cracking is impossible. If you have any doubts about your ramekins, abstain from cooling or let the ramekins warm slightly before broiling.

Reply
Judy Glore

How long can you keep the creme brûlée before serving?

Reply
Jessie Oleson Moore

Hi there Judy! I experimented with it. The creme brûlée retained its texture and flavor for 2 days in the fridge; I also found that it could be frozen-I did so for 1 week-then thawed and it tasted just fine! However, in my PERSONAL opinion, it is at its best within several hours of being made.

Reply
Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop

I don’t have a blow torch so I’m so glad you shared how to make that wonderful crusty topping without one! Happy Creme Brulee Day! 🙂

Reply
Michelle

I see a lot of recipes heat/cook the eggs. Is this recipe taste a bit more egg since the eggs are not heated?

Reply
Michelle

More eggy tasting*

Reply
Jessie Oleson Moore

That’s an interesting question! I have never tried it with the eggs warmed so I can’t tell you anecdotally; however, this way is awfully delicious!

Reply
Michelle

The word I was thinking of was tempering the eggs. Anywho I tried the recipe tonight at it was delicous!

Reply
Vanessa

Delicious!! Will never purchase again. Thanks for sharing!

Reply
Victrix

What changes would I make in the recipe/cook time if I wanted to make just one giant custard? Thanks!

Reply
Peter

Hi

There is a trick to achieve the brulee top using the broiler which involves caramelizing the sugar in a pan, pouring the resulting caramel onto baking parchment. Once it cools and hardens place the pieces in a food processor and blitzed to a powder. Then sprinkle these pieces over the custard and place under broiler until they recaramelize. The extra step reduces the possibility of burnt spots etc..

Reply
Moriah

If I want to make this during the day about 10 am and then serve them with dinner later about 6pm that evening should I just refrigerate them till dinner and then put the topping and broil when ready for dinner? Or would it be okay to go all the way through with the broiling in the morning and then just let the creme brûlée sit in the refrigerator or counter, until ready to serve at dinner? & would you heat them back up??

Reply
Jessie Oleson Moore

Moriah! Interesting question. I haven’t done this but I will tell you what I would try if I were in your shoes. I would make the creme brûlées, but then refrigerate them WITHOUT the sugar topping. Remove shortly before you’re ready to serve, sprinkle with the topping, then put under the broiler. Make sure that your ramekins are suitable to go from a chilled space to a hot space, otherwise let them come more to room temperature. Hope this helps!

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply