Crème Brûlée is one of those desserts that brings a smile to the faces of others. Whether it is because of crunchy sugar topping or the creamy custard filling, this dessert is a hit. This light dessert a perfect companion to a big meal.
To be quite honest my favorite part of crème brûlée is getting to use a blow torch. However after that I love the fact that there is a light creamy custard with a nice crunchy caramel on top. Pair that with a nice cup or Earl Grey tea or coffee and it is a great way to finish a meal.
In this recipe
Egg yolks, yes you read right 5 egg yolks. That is just one egg white shy of making some chocolate and peanut butter macarons. The egg yolks in this recipe are the key to that velvety texture that has been associated with crème brûlée.
This recipe uses my short crust pastry dough. This can be made in advance but is also not included in the recipe time. Blind baking this shell is very important to help prevent the custard from being absorbed by shell. If this happens you may end up with raw dough in the middle. A tip to help is to make sure that the dough has been cooled in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before blind baking.
I have found that the easiest way to fill a tart shell with a liquid filling to do pour it while in the oven. This will prevent the balancing act to get it into the oven. Going about this is pretty straight forward. Place the tart pan on a sheet pan and put it in the oven. Extend the rack as far out as it will go. Then gently pour the filling into the shell. Finally just gently push the rack in a you are good to go.
If you don’t have a blow torch have no fear. There is a section in the recipe that provides instruction. One of the most important things is to make sure the crème brûlée is very cold. This will help keep the rest of the tart from overcooking.
The next is to leave the oven door cracked a little so you can watch it. The sugar will caramelize very quickly until the broiler/grill setting so be ready.
Finally for additional protection you can cover the exposed crust with foil to help prevent it from scorching. There is nothing worse then getting to the end of a fantastic recipe only to ruin it so I hope these tips will help prevent any unwanted issues with creating a caramelized sugar topping.
The Perfect Crème Brûlée Tart
- Mixing Bowl
- Rolling Pin
- 10" tart pan
- Parchment paper
- Pie weights or dried beans
- Sheet pan
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 1½ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup whole milk
- ½ tbsp vanilla
- ¾ cup sugar divided
- ¼ tsp salt kosher
- Roll out the short crust pastry dough to about 13 inches in diameter and place in tart pan. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F or gas mark 4.
- Take out the tart pan, and using a fork poke holes in the base of the crust and then slice off the remaining dough around the edges. Line with parchment paper and add pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes.
- While the shell is baking whisk the egg and yolks together. Remove 3 tablespoons of sugar from the ¾ cup. Add the remaining sugar, salt, and vanilla to the eggs then add the cream and milk.
- Once the shell is ready place the tart pan on a sheet pan and place the sheet pan on the middle rack in the oven extended all the way out of the oven. Carefully pour the custard mixture into the shell and then gently slide into oven and bake for 30 minutes or until only the center wobbles when tapped but is not completely set.
- Allow to cool for 30 minutes before removing from the tart shell. Then allow to cool to room temperature.
- When ready to serve sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar on top and pass a blow torch over the top until the sugar caramelizes.
Without a blow torch
- Do not remove the tart from the pan. Once the tart is room temperature place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to broil/grill setting.
- Sprinkle the sugar on top and place in the oven. Leave the door cracked open to watch. The minute the sugar starts to caramelize immediately remove from the oven to prevent scorching. As an extra layer of protection you can cover any exposed shell with aluminum foil. This will also help prevent the pastry from scorching.