Almond Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

I dove in.

With some cash I received from Christmas, I finally set myself up with everything I needed to make crème brûlée at home. I ordered a torch from Amazon, along with a little book on the subject, then visited one of my favorite local kitchen stores for a few of those symbolic white porcelain dishes. I was set!

All I really knew I wanted from my first stab at this sweet dish was that it be loaded with vanilla beans. They are so pretty floating in the luxurious custard, and I love that raw, yet oh-so-soft, vanilla flavor. And then when I was out for lunch with the gang from work, we shared an almond flavored crème brûlée. And I was torn. So torn. The classic vanilla bean crème brûlée had always been my favorite. But this almond one was really messin’ with me.

So that’s how this Almond Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée came to be. Call it indecisiveness. Call it holy matrimony. Whatever you might think, just believe me when I say it’s delicious.

(Disclaimer: I’m not claiming to be any kind of French dessert expert here. I’m simply here to tell you that this impressive ramekin of lusciousness is completely attainable at home. I’ve made crème brûlée – which translates to burnt cream – a couple times for my family and once for my girlfriends to celebrate a birthday, and I’m hooked. From the rich silky custard, to the top layer of hard caramel that cracks when your spoon hits it, this dish is truly a treat.)

Almond Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 3’’ piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. pure almond extract
  • 6 T. sugar, for topping

Preparation

Pour the cream into a medium saucepan and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream. Then add the vanilla pod, too. Place over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan and immediately remove from the heat. Let custard mixture cool to room temperature, then remove the vanilla pod.

Preheat oven to 275°.

In a medium bowl, briskly whisk the egg yolks until pale in color, about 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the 1/3 cup sugar until dissolved, about 2 minutes. Gently whisk in the cream, taking care to not overbeat. You don’t want to see bubbles form. Stir in the almond extract.

Place 6 crème brûlée dishes in a baking pan. Divide the custard mixture evenly between the 6 dishes, allowing at least ¼’’ of head space for the sugar topping. Pour warm water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the center of each custard still jiggles just slightly. Remove from the oven and lift the dishes from the hot water. Let cool briefly, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to serve, place the dishes on a baking sheet. Evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over each custard. With a hand-held torch, caramelize the sugar until it is browned evenly. Serve simply, unadorned. Or with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and fresh raspberries (my preference!).

Source

Adapted from the recipe "Classic Vanilla Bean Créme Brûlée" from the cookbook Créme Brûlée by Lou Seibert Pappas

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40 Responses to “Almond Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée”

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    1
    Mara @ Elemental Custard — February 10, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Crème Brûlée has got to be one of my favourite desserts. Although I am yet to invest in those gorgeous shallow ramekins! Your presentation is beautiful! I might have to go get some so I can make this!

    • Brenda replied on February 11th, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      I agree, it is an investment to go all-out with making it at home. But I am convinced I’ll be making crème brûlée for the rest of my life. So much yumminess awaits. We’re trying a spiced pumpkin variation this weekend…

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    Deborah — February 10, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I love creme brulee, and this looks amazing!

    • Brenda replied on February 11th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      Thank you, Deborah! :)

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    Mom — February 10, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Can I put this on my “wish list” for when I visit???

    • Brenda replied on February 11th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      Most definitely! If I don’t think of it, be sure to remind me – it’s easy to put together. We’re trying a spiced pumpkin variation this weekend, too, – Hatti’s choice. :)

  4. #
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    Harriet — February 10, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Another great recipie from you! What would you suggest using instead of a blowtorch to brown the top? I don’t have one and don’t really have the money to get one at the moment but I’d like to try this recipie. Would putting it under the grill work?

    • Brenda replied on February 11th, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      The book I used, plus other sources, say you can use your oven’s broiler – “place dishes about 4″ from the heat source, turning dishes if necessary to brown the custards evenly.” It also says that the dishes are then super hot, so you should put them in the refrigerator for 5 minutes before serving. If you try this, please let me know how it works for you!

      • Harriet replied on February 11th, 2012 at 2:55 pm

        Thanks! I’ll definatley let you know if this works :)

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    Paula — February 10, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Aren’t those little vanilla beans adorable and delicious? I can only imagine how wonderful this brulee tasted. You are a wizard with that torch by the way.

    P.S. I know I already said how much I love you new blog look but it bears repeating. So fresh and vibrant! Have a great weekend.

    • Brenda replied on February 11th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

      Completely adorable and delicious, those vanilla beans are!! ;) And thank you so much about the new design…it’s been alot of fun! Happy weekend to you, too!

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    Blog is the New Black — February 10, 2012 at 11:56 am

    GORGEOUS!

    • Brenda replied on February 11th, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      THANKS!

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    Becca-cookie jar treats — February 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    This looks so pretty. I have two creme brule ramekins, but I’ve never made creme burl before; I should probably get on it soon

    • Brenda replied on February 11th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      Thank you, Becca. I’m only sad I didn’t try it sooner. I’ve been missing out! ;)

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    Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids — February 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I have never made creme brulee, but oh-how you have inspired me to try! :)

    • Brenda replied on February 11th, 2012 at 3:17 pm

      It really is very easy to make. And I especially like that most of it can be done the day before. It’s an extra special treat with some “wow” for guests. Nice to hear from you, Natalie!

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    Living The Sweet Life — February 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Sounds delicious :) – - and that crust that forms on top … gorgeous :)

    • Brenda replied on February 13th, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      I just baked up another batch this evening, for Valentine’s Day tomorrow. It’s so good!!

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    Minnesota Prairie Roots — February 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I agree with your assessment of this dessert. I first had it a year ago at my husband’s annual company Christmas party hosted by his boss and wife. They are fantastic cooks and I will choose eating at their house any day over dining out for the company party. Love, love, loved this creamy, rich, delectable dessert.

    • Brenda replied on February 13th, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      I simply can’t stop thinking about it. I had to make another batch this evening – just put it in the fridge, to torch on Valentine’s Day! Thanks, Audrey – hope you’re having a great week – and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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    Jan — February 13, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    This is one of my favorite desserts when we go out to dinner. Yours looks fantastic.. I’ve used my broiler for the top.. this reicipe makes me want to go out and get the ‘torch’… MMMMM

    • Brenda replied on February 14th, 2012 at 11:29 am

      Does the broiler do a “great” job or a “good enough” job? I’ve gotten some questions on that. Guess I just need to test it out! Thanks, Jan!

  12. #
    12
    Maria — February 13, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    What a pretty dessert!

    • Brenda replied on February 14th, 2012 at 11:28 am

      Thank you, Maria! :)

  13. #
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    the wicked noodle — February 14, 2012 at 9:41 am

    So I’m on Tasty Kitchen and look who I see on the front page! And I can see why – the photo is stunning and the recipe sounds delicious.

    Hope all is wonderful with you! xo

    • Brenda replied on February 14th, 2012 at 11:15 am

      Hi Kristy!! Thanks for letting me know, what a pleasure it is to be featured there. It’s so delicious, I had to make it again for dinner tonight! Happy Valentine’s Day, my friend!

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    Sweetsugarbelle — February 15, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Oh man! I wish I could trade bodies with one of your family members today!!! I love Creme brulee!

    • Brenda replied on February 15th, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      This treat is almost a little too easy to have whenever I want now, though. Not sure it’s a good thing! ;)

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    Rachel — February 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Hey!! I made the recipe it was soo good!! I thought I followed the recipe perfect but it came out a little watery :(
    any tips on making it more like a firm custard? thanks!

    • Brenda replied on February 15th, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      Hi Rachel…so sorry to hear that. I just made my 4th batch last night since I got my torch a few weeks ago, and have had no issues with this recipe. All I can suggest is to take a look and make sure you used exactly the named ingredients and quantities. Did you use “heavy whipping cream” and “large” sized egg yolks? I found a few places online that suggested yours might have been cooked too long. Did yours still have a little jiggle in the middle when you took them out of the oven? When cooled and eaten, the custard should be silky smooth, like a very fine pudding. It should not be overly thick. Please let me know if you try it again…best wishes!

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    Julie — March 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I received a torch for Christmas and am excited that I found this recipe! (I just recently found your blog) I can’t wait to try it. Thanks so much for sharing.

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    Averie @ Averie Cooks — May 10, 2012 at 2:29 am

    I just saw Heidi/Foodiecrush link this up. I love creme brulee & this is great!

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    Danae — December 10, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I am looking for an awesome dessert that is not chocolate or pumpkin. I think this one will be great, but, how long do you think I should bake “minis?” I want to make little ones in my 4-6 oz. ramekins. Start checking at 25 minutes? Jon bought me a torch for the same Christmas you bought yours, but mine is still in the box. You have inspired me!! Hope all is merry!

    • Brenda replied on December 12th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Hi Danae! I have not experimented with minis with this recipe, although I made some mini lemon custards, sans torching, using 4.5 oz. ramekins: http://www.afarmgirlsdabbles.com/2012/05/10/mini-lemon-custard-cups/. It will depend on how many ramekins you use = how much custard is in each ramekin, etc. I can only guess, but if I were to divide this recipe between 10 to 12 smaller ramekins, I think checking at 25 minutes sounds fine. Have fun! Hope you like this, it’s one of our favorites! Merry Christmas!!

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