Photography: Karry Hosford
4 servings (serving size: 1 crème brûlée)

This elegant dessert calls for just 5 ingredients, making it as budget-friendly as it is delicious!

How to Make It

Step 1

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.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 300°.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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.

Chef's Notes

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

Ratings & Reviews

CherylT's Review

July 19, 2014
This is a great recipe. I ended up doubling the cooking time but that may be a problem with my oven rather than the recipe. This is a great basic creme brûlée recipe. You could easily top the brûlées with a little fruit for a nice presentation.

cyclegal's Review

April 25, 2014
I made this for our couples book club using Blue Diamond Almond/Coconut milk and powdered goats milk as one of our friends is Dairy intolerant. This recipe worked really well and so if you are needing to modify, it was a hit with everyone. I used the same quantities and times.

Kvavava's Review

December 19, 2013

JNBank's Review

April 26, 2013

aaz924's Review

March 04, 2012

eatitorwearit's Review

January 08, 2012

KarenCF's Review

August 22, 2011
I was skeptical of making a lower calorie creme brulee, but this turned out amazing! I doubled the amount of sugar and added a little more vanilla bean. It came out as a sweet custard with perfect texture. It also took a little longer to cook, and I used just granulated sugar and a kitchen torch to get my hard sugar topping. Will definitely make again!!