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Alton Brown Creme Brûlée Recipe

When we first hear about creme brûlée, you may immediately consider it something extremely fancy and too complicated to make on your own.

However, you’ll be shocked to learn that you don’t need to dine in a 5-star restaurant to try it! 

Creme brûlée requires only 6 ingredients that are commonly found in your pantry.

And if you follow the success tips, you’ll get the creaminess and smoothest dessert ever. 

Although there are plenty of creme brûlée recipes, today we will be making one from the famous chef and food show host Alton Brown.

How to Make Alton Brown Creme Brûlée

finished bowl of alton brown creme brulee

Since you’ve landed on this page, your search for the best and most foolproof creme brûlée recipe ends here.

Flavored with pure vanilla and brilliantly creamy custard, the Alton Brown creme brûlée recipe will become your favorite.

A crispy caramelized sugar ceiling and a rich, creamy custard make this dessert taste like luxury, no exaggerations.

At the same time, it calls for simple ingredients and costs you much less than you’d pay for it in a restaurant.

Eager to discover what you’ll need to make this perfect dessert?

Ingredients:

(6 servings)

  • 1-quart heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 quarts of hot water
  • 1 vanilla bean (split and scraped)
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar

Instructions

Although creme brûlée does seem simple due to the short ingredients list, you need to know some specific techniques to make it a success.  

First, it’s important to add the eggs slowly to the cream. You’ll get scrambled eggs if you add them straight to the hot cream. 

Also, after whisking the eggs and cream together, you’ll get a little foam on top.  

Skim it off the top after straining the custard before pouring it into the ramekins, or all these bubbles will create a bumpy texture. We don’t need that.

Besides, it would be best to pull the creme brûlée out of the oven when it’s slightly jiggly, like a cheesecake. It will set as it cools.

Step 1: 

Preheat the oven to 325॰F. 

Step 2: 

Place heavy cream, vanilla bean, and pulp into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. 

Then remove the mixture from the heat, and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. Remove vanilla bean and reserve for the future.

Step 3:

Whisk together ½ cup of sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl until well blended and lightened in color. Then add the cream gradually, a little at a time, stirring continuously. 

Step 4: 

putting creme brulee in oven

Pour the liquid into 6 ramekins (7- to 8-ounce). 

Place the ramekins into a large roasting or cake pan and pour the hot water. Pour enough to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. 

Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes, until creme brûlée, is set but still trembling in the center.

Step 5: 

Remove the ramekins from the pan and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

However, take it out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes before browning the sugar on top.

Spread the remaining ½ cup of vanilla sugar among 6 dishes evenly. Melt the sugar with a torch and form a crispy top. 

Leave the creme brûlée to sit for about 5 minutes and serve!

Ingredient Substitution

coconut cream for vegan creme brulee

Alton Brown creme brûlée seems so delicate you can’t afford not to stick to the recipe.

Besides, there are not so many ingredients to experiment with. 

It is a misconception. You can alter the recipe if your preferences or diet require it.

As long as you follow the same steps, you’re good to substitute an ingredient or two.

1. Coconut Cream

Is vegan creme brûlée a thing?

Absolutely! Coconut cream is a versatile ingredient that makes an excellent heavy creamy substitute for 2 reasons: it is non-dairy and can be whipped. 

It is a perfect alternative for people with daily sensitivities or specific diets. 

Coconut cream has a naturally sweet flavor that will feel nice against the vanilla in your creme brûlée. Substitute heavy cream and coconut cream in equal amounts.

2. Almond Extract 

Since vanilla bean is not a common ingredient easily found in your kitchen, you can look for alternatives. Vanilla sugar or vanilla extract usually works. But we’d like you to consider something different 一 almond extract. 

Almond extract has the same profile as that vanilla beans, which allows you to expect close results. This ingredient has a nutty taste, but it will change the flavors of the Alton Brown creme brûlée slightly.

3. Brown Sugar

There is a lot of vanilla in this creme brûlée recipe. You get it. But if you’re not a vanilla fan, there’s still a way to enjoy this luxurious dessert.

Use brown sugar instead of vanilla sugar.

Brown sugar works for many recipes that require vanilla sugar. It offers almost the same sweetness and doesn’t alter the dessert’s texture.

However, brown sugar is full of molasses. So the taste would be more caramel.

What to Serve with Alton Brown Creme Brûlée

Since Alton Brown Creme Brûlée is a luxury and mouthwatering dessert, you have to serve something equally good on the side for the best experience.

Brownies

You can find no other dessert that can be made in about 10 minutes and still be utterly delicious. Brownie doesn’t have to cool before serving, and you don’t need special ingredients. 

You’ll never want any other dessert once you try this brownie-creme brûlée combo.

The creamy custard of the creme brûlée complements the chocolatey brownie base perfectly. 

Rice Pudding

Rich rice pudding topped with caramel is a super easy-to-make treat perfect for any occasion. It is also one of the healthiest desserts there is. 

Although it is easy to make, rice pudding requires some time.

It would be best to cook it for an hour, stirring continuously to reach a tender and creamy texture similar to the creme brûlée. But it’s worth every minute, we promise. 

And your guests will be stunned by this creamy goodness.

Chocolate Cheesecake

While creme brûlée is an elegant dessert, chocolate cheesecake is considered more of a casual one.

So combining the best of two worlds makes a great experience for your family and guests. The process of making a cheesecake is as simple as it can be. 

Besides, it could be made beforehand, just like the Alton Brown creme brûlée, and served later.

Rich, creamy desserts that melt in your mouth. Could there be a better pairing?

How to Store Alton Brown Creme Brûlée

There is a common misconception that creme brûlée can last for weeks after being made.

But in reality, the shelf life of this dessert ranges from 3-5 days at most. 

Many factors influence that: temperature, humidity, and time within which it’s been stored.

Still, you can keep it in the fridge or freezer. We’ll teach you how.

Store Alton Brown Creme Brûlée in the Fridge

To store creme brûlée in the fridge, you should wrap the ramekins in plastic.

It prevents it from drying out and allows it to say fresh for up to 4 days.

If you’re unsure you could finish your creme brûlée within this period, toss it into the freezer.

Store Alton Brown Creme Brûlée in the Freezer

We don’t recommend freezing a fully-assembled creme brûlée, sugar crust and all. Instead, make the base and wait for it cool completely. 

Then cover each ramekin with tin foil and secure the wrapping with rubber bands or tape.

Finally, place the ramekin in a resealable plastic container, write the storage date and freeze.

To defrost the creme brûlée, let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. Once it softens, sprinkle with sugar and torch for a caramel crust.

 

alton brown creme brulee recipe

Alton Brown Creme Brûlée Recipe

Luxury restaurant-style dessert made in the comfort of your kitchen is a reality. Alton Brown Creme Brûlée recipe not only calls for simple ingredients but requires little effort. Follow the instructions and tips we provide in this recipe to get a perfectly creamy dessert.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Resting Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Equipment
  • Ramekins
  • saucepan
  • bowl
  • Roasting tray
Ingredients
  
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 quarts of hot water
  • 1 vanilla bean (split and scraped)
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar
Instructions
 
  • Preheat the oven to 325॰F. 
  • Place heavy cream, vanilla bean, and pulp into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. 
    Then remove the mixture from the heat, and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. Remove vanilla bean and reserve for the future.
  • Whisk together ½ cup of sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl until well blended and lightened in color. Then add the cream gradually, a little at a time, stirring continuously. 
  • Pour the liquid into 6 ramekins (7- to 8-ounce). Place the ramekins into a large roasting or cake pan and pour the hot water. Pour enough to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. 
    Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes, until creme brûlée, is set but still trembling in the center.
  • Remove the ramekins from the pan and refrigerate for about 2 hours. However, take it out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes before browning the sugar on top.
    Spread the remaining ½ cup of vanilla sugar among 6 dishes evenly. Melt the sugar with a torch and form a crispy top. 
    Leave the creme brûlée to sit for about 5 minutes and serve!

 

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