Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée Recipe
Photography: Karry Hosford
This elegant dessert calls for just 5 ingredients, making it as budget-friendly as it is delicious!


4 servings (serving size: 1 crème brûlée)

Recipe from

Nutritional Information

Calories 262
Caloriesfromfat 26 %
Fat 7.5 g
Satfat 3.1 g
Monofat 2.6 g
Polyfat 0.8 g
Protein 11 g
Carbohydrate 37.8 g
Fiber 0.0 g
Cholesterol 224 mg
Iron 0.7 mg
Sodium 177 mg
Calcium 328 mg


2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 cup sugar, divided
4 large egg yolks
Dash of salt


Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat mixture over medium heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil), stirring occasionally. Remove milk mixture from heat. Cover and steep 30 minutes. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into milk mixture; reserve bean for another use.

Preheat oven to 300°.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar, egg yolks, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids.

Divide the mixture evenly among 4 (4-ounce) ramekins, custard cups, or shallow baking dishes. Place ramekins in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch.

Bake at 300° for 25 minutes or until center barely moves when ramekin is touched. Remove ramekins from the pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

Sift 1 tablespoon sugar evenly over each custard. Holding a kitchen blow torch about 2 inches from the top of each custard, heat the sugar, moving the torch back and forth, until sugar is completely melted and caramelized (about 1 minute). Serve crème brûlée immediately or within 1 hour.

Note: If you don't have a kitchen blow torch, you can make the sugar topping on the stovetop. Place 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a small, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat 5 to 8 minutes or until golden. (Resist the urge to stir, since doing so may cause the sugar to crystallize.) Immediately pour the sugar mixture evenly over cold custards, spreading to form a thin layer.


To prevent skins from forming while the custards cool, gently press plastic wrap to the top of each.

Barbara Chernetz,

November 2003
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