Creme brulee for two recipe that is perfect for Valentine's Day! Easy to make ahead and serve on a date night at home.
When I began scaling this recipe down to make just 2 ramekins instead of 6, I assumed it would be an easy job. After cutting everything in half and tasting the results, I knew I was so very wrong.
Eggs are tricky things when you're changing recipes. I imagine eggs cause trouble to anyone who is a recipe developer, not just someone like me who is trying to cut them in half yet still have the recipe turn out identical to the original!
It turns out that even with the cream and sugar amounts cut in half, we still needed an extra egg yolk to create the thick, luscious custard that you know and love in creme brulee.
Easy enough, right? Just 3 egg yolks for 2 small ramekins of creme brulee. Check my ways to use leftover egg whites here.
You'll love this Easy Creme Brulee Recipe
I don't think you need much pushing or shoving in the right direction, but you know that this is a great dessert to make for a romantic date night at home, right? Don't miss my collection of romantic meals for two at home!
Plus, you can make this creme brulee for two almost entirely in advance! Make the custard part the night before, and then cover it tightly in the fridge to chill overnight. Make sure the plastic wrap is tight and that you don't have any lingering onions or garlic in the fridge that might permeate the custard with their aroma!
Right before serving this creme brulee for two, sprinkle the sugar on top of each ramekin, whip out your kitchen torch and torch the sugar! Not only will this totally impress your date, but you actually can't do this in advance. The crunchy sugar topping softens over time, so never torch it in advance!
Smooth luscious cream topped by crunchy caramelized sugar. Enough said. This is the quintessential romantic dessert for two. I hope you love it and enjoy it with your special someone!
What is Creme Brulee?
Creme Brulee is a French baked custard that has a crisp sugar crust on top. The top is a thin layer of crispy sugar, but underneath is a soft, luscious smoother-than-pudding custard. It’s heaven in a dish, respectfully.
What does Creme Brulee taste like?
Creme Brulee tastes like the best vanilla pudding you have ever eaten. The pudding part is a rich custard with plenty of egg yolks and a luscious texture, and the crispy sugar crust on top is everyone’s favorite.
Is Creme Brulee hard to make?
The hardest part about making Creme Brulee is waiting for the custard to set in the fridge and being fearless with the mini blow torch. Yes, you have to make Creme Brulee ahead of time, but I love a dessert that bakes the day before. Go easy and slow with the mini torch, never keeping it in the same place for too long, or it will burn. Also, do not attempt to touch any part of the dish or dessert that has recently been torched--it is HOT.
Flan vs Creme Brulee: What's the difference?
Flan is a milk-based baked custard with a soft, runny caramel sauce. Creme Brulee is a richer, thicker custard with a crisp caramel-sugar crust.
Creme Brulee Ingredients:
The ingredients required for creme brulee are shockingly simple. The only difficult part of this recipe is planning ahead of time to chill the custards before torching.
- Eggs. We need 3 egg yolks from 3 large eggs. Reserve the egg whites for another use--we only need the yolks here. A great way to use up leftover egg whites is to make my mini pavlova. If you're looking for a great egg separator, try this one.
- Heavy Whipping Cream. The label on the carton needs to say 'heavy' whipping cream, or else it's not thick enough. If you're on the other side of the pond, this is double cream.
- Granulated Sugar. We need sugar for the custard, plus extra for sprinkling on top to caramelize with the kitchen torch.
- Vanilla Extract. You can use one teaspoon of vanilla extract, or the seeds of ½ a vanilla bean. If you have vanilla bean paste, use ½ teaspoon.
Best Ramekin for Creme Brulee and Other needed equipment
If you like a higher sugar crust to custard ratio, you’re going to want to use these shallow ramekins. Otherwise, Creme Brulee is commonly served in these 6-ounce ramekins. You also need this mini culinary torch.
How to make Creme Brulee at home
- Gather all ingredients needed for creme brulee for two: eggs, heavy whipping cream, sugar and your choice of vanilla. Preheat the oven to 300-degrees Fahrenheit, and ensure you have one oven rack in the center position.
- Combine the egg yolks, ¼ cup of the sugar and vanilla in a glass bowl.
- Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla.
- Next, add the heavy whipping cream.
- Whisk very well, but be careful not to whip too much air into the mixture with the whisk. Just stir vigorously by hand while keeping the whisk submerged in the liquid. Don't move the whisk up and down, or you'll add too much air. Similarly, do not use an electric mixer to make creme brulee for two.
- Divide the mixture between two 6 ounce ramekins. The exact ramekins I use are linked here.
- Next, place the ramekins inside a glass dish, and pour hot water into the dish until it reaches ½" up the sides of the ramekins. In an 8 or 9-inch dish, this is about 2 cups of hot water. You can heat the water in the microwave or boil it in a kettle before using.
- Bake the creme brulee for two for 50-60 minutes, and known that the only the center should be slightly jiggly when it's ready to be removed from the oven. Remove the pan from the oven, and let the custards cool completely while still in the water bath. Once cool, remove each ramekin, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours (or up to 2 days ahead of time).
- Sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar over the ramekins (one teaspoon on each custard), and then use a kitchen torch to melt and caramelize it until crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately.
Crème Brûlée Recipe - Easy Troubleshooting and Tips:
How to know when Creme Brulee is done
Creme brulee is a custard that is cooked low and slow in a water bath over nearly an hour. The way to ensure it's done and ready to be removed from the oven is to slightly shake the pan. Only the very center of the creme brulee should jiggle. If the whole surface of the custard jiggles, it needs more time. Typically, if you have an older oven or a gas/ propane oven, this recipe needs 60 minutes of bake time. If you have a newer oven, 50 minutes is spot-on.
Is creme brulee French?
Yes, crème brûlée is French, and it's French for 'burnt cream.'
Which sugar to use for creme brulee?
Granulated sugar is what this creme brulee for two recipe requires, for both the custard and the crisp burnt topping.
How to make creme brulee without a torch in the oven:
If you lack a kitchen torch, you can still make creme brulee in the oven! Only do this right before you're ready to serve: move a rack to the highest position in the oven. Place the ramekins on the rack. Turn the broiler on as high as it goes, and do not walk away from the oven. Keep an eye on it as the broiler melts and caramelizes the sugar. Creme brulee is excellent when made this way in the oven, but note that the custard will be slightly warmer at serving time.
The reason we use a kitchen torch is because it quickly cooks the sugar on top and allows the custard beneath to stay cool. This would be a good method if you're making my slow cooker creme brulee.
Why is my creme brulee runny and not set?
Because it wasn't cooked long enough. Before removing it from the oven, give the pan a quick shake. Only the very center of the creme brulee should slightly jiggle. Also, ensure you let the custards cool completely in the water bath. Do not remove them while warm or still hot.
How to serve this Easy Creme Brulee
It’s stunning on its own, with its shiny crust, but a few raspberries on top are cute.
Storing Homemade Creme Brulee
Creme Brulee cannot be stored after torching. The sugar crust becomes soft over time. It needs to be served right after torching. You can store the custard part (post-bake) wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 2 days.
Creme Brûlée Recipe - Easy Reheating
There is no reheating this dessert, I’m sorry. The custard part needs to be cold from the fridge, and the sugar crust needs to be freshly torched. Otherwise, the texture and flavor is just wrong.
Homemade Creme Brulee FAQs
Is Creme Brulee just a custard?
Yes, a French custard rich with egg yolks and heavy cream. Other custards (like pudding) is made with milk instead of cream and lower quantity of egg yolks.
Is Creme Brulee served hot or cold?
The creamy custard part of Creme Brulee should be cold while the top crust should be hot and freshly torched. The juxtaposition of cold custard and hot sugar crust is the absolute hallmark of Creme Brulee, and nothing else will work.
Is Creme Brulee gluten free?
Yes, this French dessert is naturally gluten free. Lucky you!
Other Creme Brulee flavors you might like:
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup sugar, plus 2 teaspoons
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Gather ingredients, and preheat oven to 300-degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a glass bowl, add the egg yolks, ¼ cup sugar and vanilla.
- Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until well-blended.
- Next, add the heavy whipping cream. Whisk well, but be careful not to whisk in too much air. It's best to keep the whisk submerged in the liquid instead of raising and lowering it. Also: do not use an electric mixer.
- Pour into the ramekins.
- Place the ramekins in a 8 or 9" square glass baking dish. Make a water bath for them to cook in by pouring 2 cups of very hot water into the dish, or enough to come up about ½" on the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake at 300° for 50-60 minutes. The custards are done when only the middle is slightly jiggly. Cool the custards in the water bath, then cover them with plastic wrap before moving them to the fridge for at least 8 hours.
- When ready to caramelize the sugar with a kitchen torch, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar over each custard. Melt the sugar with the torch until it is browned and hard. Serve immediately.
Eggs: Use the egg yolks from 3 large eggs only. Save the egg whites for another use.
Heavy Whipping Cream: Make sure the carton says 'heavy' , or else it's not thick enough. Also called 'double cream.'
Vanilla Extract: You can many types of vanilla for this reciep: one teaspoon of vanilla extract, or the seeds of ½ a vanilla bean, or ½ teaspoon of vanilla bean paste.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 387Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 344mgSodium: 29mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 0gSugar: 27gProtein: 6g