It's easy to make creme brulée in our own kitchen that's as delicious as the ones you found in Paris. The only difficult thing about this crême brûlée recipe (other than typing in all those French accents!) is imagining that only four simple ingredients — cream, eggs, honey and sugar — can create such a spectacular dessert. This recipe may not transform your kitchen into a Parisian bistro, but it will bring back memories.
Our creme brulée recipe comes by way of Provence, where Chef Jean-Marc Larue in Avignon taught us how to make this classic French dessert. It was his idea to infuse the cream with lavender for a distinctive Provençal taste. You can try that variation if you have lavender available, but the basic crême brûlée recipe is equally delicious.
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Preheat oven to 275° F
We use all cream in the recipe to recreate the richness of this Paris bistro classic. In a small saucepan bring the cream to a boil, but don't let it boil over. Remove it from the heat, and stir in the honey until dissolved.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the yolks until they are combined. Continue to whisk while slowly adding a small amount of the warm cream. Add a little bit at a time so the yolks don't cook, until all the cream is mixed in.
Divide the liquid custard among 6-ounce ramekins. Place them in large, deep baking dish. Fill the baking dish with hot water to halfway up the sides of the ramekins and put the baking dish in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes and then check every 5 minutes. When fully baked the brûlée should be almost firm but will jiggle just slightly when shaken.
Remove the ramekins from the water bath, let them cool and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. They should look like the photo below.
To prepare for serving, sprinkle each dessert with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Next, brown (brûlée, or broil) the sugar using a kitchen torch. Sugar can burn quickly, so use the torch carefully until the top just becomes a deep golden brown. The most difficult part of the creme brulée recipe is learning how to work with the kitchen torch.
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"Lavender Variation" sounds like a work by Mozart! This is the version we learned from Chef Larue.
Follow the above instructions, up to bringing the cream to a boil. When you remove the cream from the heat, add the lavender and infuse for 1 hour at room temperature. Using a fine sieve or cheesecloth, strain the mixture and return it to the same saucepan. Heat to a simmer and then remove from the heat immediately. Continue as above.
Easy French Desserts
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