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Sep 2, 2008 05:57 PM

Your favorite creme brulee recipe?

I have all the ingredients for creme brulee and not a vanilla bean to be found in the Asheville area. Can you suggest some favorite recipes that don't require one. (My cream will spoil before the Penzey's order arrives.)

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  1. My favorite recipe is from cooks illustrated and it's the ratio of eggs to cream i've used it many times and tweaked it to add flavors like lemongrass and chai...
    For 8 brulee's:

    4 cups cream
    12 egg yolks
    2/3 c. sugar

    They heat half the cream with the sugar, instead of combining the yolks with the sugar, as is more typical, then, after steeping for 15 minutes, whisk it into the yolks. It does prevent any curdling, but so does tempering, so somtimes i just slowly add the hot cream to the yolks.

    Bake at 300 for 30 minutes

    1. You ask for my favorite, then you ask for a recipe without a vanilla bean?! Make up your mind :-)

      Here's my favorite recipe for 6:

      Remove the seeds from a vanilla bean, put it in a saucepan with 1 L of cream, and gently heat it. Whip 10 egg yolks with 250 grams of granulated sugar until they've lightened. Add the cooked cream, begin careful not to create any froth. Carefully pass it through a seive, again taking care not to froth it. Pour into 6 ramekins and bake at 100 C (= 212 F) for an hour and 15 minutes. The cream should be just set. Let them cool. When you're ready to serve, sprinkle the tops of the creams with superfine sugar, using 40 g for the six. Carmalize the sugar either using the broiler in your oven or with a torch.

      As for your lack of vanilla bean, you could instead use some vanilla extract, or simmer a bitter almond in the cream, or use almond extract. I find that a medium-fat cream gives the finest texture, rather than heavy cream.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tmso

        :-) I had a baby in my arms so had to use economy while typing the title.

      2. Fine Cooking has a recipe from several years back. I believe that it is still on their website. Joanne Chang was the chef who "taught" the technique for creating all kinds of custards including creme brulee.

        1. Feel free to try this one!

          This recipe uses maple syrup to sweeten this special dessert.


          1 pint whipping cream
          2 tsp. vanilla extract
          6 egg yolks
          1/2 C. pure maple syrup
          1/4 tsp. salt
          1/2 C. sugar (divided)
          2 strawberries, sliced
          8 blackberries
          8 raspberries


          Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In non-reactive heavy-bottom pan, bring cream and vanilla to boil, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Remove from heat. In medium stainless steel bowl, whisk together egg yolks, maple syrup and salt. With small ladle, slowly add two-thirds of the hot cream mixture to egg yolk mixture and whisk until bowl is same temperature as remaining cream.

          Pour this mixture back into remaining heavy cream and beat. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer. Fill 4 ramekins and place in baking pan on oven rack. Fill pan with enough warm water to go two-thirds up sides of ramekins. Bake in preheated oven 45 minutes, remove ramekins from water bath and place on clean sheet pan. Let rest 45 minutes, then refrigerate 4 to 6 hours.

          Before serving, place 2 Tbs. sugar on top of each custard. With chef's torch, carefully flame top of each custard to caramelize sugar until golden brown. Or, place under broiler briefly. Watch carefully so custard does not burn. Decorate top of each creme brulee with berries.

          Yield: 4 servings