Creme Brulee is my favorite dessert, hands down. I love breaking down into the caramelized sugar shell and scooping out that sweet, smooth, creamy custard. The crunch of the sugar melding with that velvety custard, that is a moment of pure joy for me. I’m getting hungry just thinking of that burst of pure flavor and rich texture. Creme brulee is a classic dessert that is an egg yolk based custard.While it is perfection in its vanilla base form, it can be even more delicious with some flavor changes. During the holidays I drink a lot of Eggnog. So with holidays in full swing, it’s time we jazz things up with this Eggnog Creme Brulee!
My Eggnog Creme Brulee is officially award winning! Check out the article this nutmeg spiced treat makes a holiday appearance in here, https://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/food-and-cooking/meet-the-winners-the-best-alternatives-to-pie-for-your/article_aab65af2-ff54-5a42-a483-bc75dad397a5.html.
This Eggnog creme brulee is a simple take on an elegant vanilla bean classic. This is a great dessert to make for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or NYE. A crackling sugar topping gives way to a rich and spiked custard that will fill your mouth with an irresistible custard flavored with nutmeg and spiked bourbon (or rum).
I have started going through my older posts and updating them with fresher pictures. This eggnog creme brulee needed a makeover, so this post has been updated with a few tweaks and with newer photos.
Tackling Creme Brulee
Crème brulee may seem intimidating, however, this is a rewarding dessert that requires only a bit of technique and patience. Once you nail a crème brulee, you can take on anything in the whole wide world of baking! Like Earl Grey Macarons or Italian Meringue Buttercream!
The biggest problem that can arise when making creme brulee is getting a sweet scrambled-egg like texture. This occurs when the egg yolks become overcooked and then curdle. Secondly, if you whip too much air into the creme brulee, air bubbles will form along the surface and give it a pebble-like appearance.
Eggnog Creme Brulee Steps
The first step in creme brulee is focus. You are about to go on a culinary journey that is filled with flavor, texture, and some fun! You will want all of your ingredients ready. Furthermore, you will be baking these in a water bath. Have a Baking Dish, 9 x 13 ready. Set in 6 6-Ounce Ramekins . Set some water to boil.
The techniques for a perfect result include a few key components. You must use a water bath, temper your eggs correctly (to avoid the scrambled-eggs), cook the custard to 170-175 degrees, and use a kitchen blow-torch for the final brûlée.
For this eggnog creme brulee, I make some with alcohol and some without (for the kids). I’ll even show you an optional, easy trick I use to distinguish the alcoholic eggnog creme brulee and the non-alcoholic versions.
To begin, set a saucepan on the stove top over medium heat. Add 1 3/4 cups of the heavy cream to the saucepan, reserving 1/4 cup. You do not want this cream to over-boil, so as soon as it begins to simmer and get any hint of bubbles, turn that heat off and remove from the stove. Set it aside. If you are using a split vanilla bean, add it and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. If using extract, then just allow it to cool down for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add you egg yolks and sugar. Whisk gently, being careful not to over-beat the mixture. This was Bea’s main job for this recipe.
Now with all the tempering and alcohol that is about to begin, I thank my young buddy, and send her to the viewing area. Tempering can be tricky, however, if you follow these tricks, you will be a star.
First, skim the hot cream mixture for that layer on top, then add the remaining cold cream to the steamed cream and give it a quick whisk. Take a fine mesh sieve and hold it over a pitcher or big glass measuring cup. Pour in the cream.
Then take about a tablespoon and while whisking your egg mixture, slowly trickle in that small amount of hot cream. Then do that again. Next, take the pitcher and trickle in the rest while mixing until it is all smooth.
At this point, mix in your nutmeg, pinch of cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
To booze or not to booze?
That is your decision! When I make anything with alcohol I make sure to differentiate which has the alcohol and which does not. With little kids and people who do not drink, you do not want to mess around! My trick is to use individual, different colored ramekins. I have several of these, so I always use red for my kids (since anything close to pink wins), and white for the adults.
When making this Eggnog Creme Brulee, I wait to add alcohol until I have put the kids servings aside in their dishes. Then I add in the alcohol to the leftover batch before distributing into the “adult” dishes.
To fill the dishes, use a mesh sieve once more and pour over into each dish.
The Water Bath and Baking
Then take your water and pour it into the baking dish, being careful not to splash water into the eggnog creme brulee. Fill it halfway.
Temperature is important, so I never cook these custards above 325 degrees.
Bake for approximately 35 minutes. Use a digital thermometer to check on your eggnog creme brulee custard. Once the temperature is between 170-175 degrees and you have that slight and merry jiggle in the middle, bring them out. Then remove the dishes from the water bath using tongs or very carefully with oven mitts. You will cool these at room temperature for about an hour, and then in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. Creme brulee is such a great make-ahead dessert! Here’s what your set and smooth custard will look like. See all that spice and smooth custard!
When you are ready to caramelize, allow your eggnog creme brulee to rest for about 20 minutes before torching.
Sprinkle on about a teaspoon of granulated sugar and gently get to work.
That velvety custard is too much deliciousness!
And then just jazz them up with fruit and serve!
Eggnog Creme Brulee
Rich, creamy custard filled with the flavors of the holidays! Spiced with nutmeg and spiked with bourbon, this eggnog creme brulee is pure joy!
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar plus more for top
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Big pinch ground cinnamon optional
- pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean pod split lengthwise
- 1.5 tablespoons bourbon rum or brandy works too!
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Set 6 ramekins into a baking dish and enough water to fill the dish halfway.
In a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring 1 3/4 cups of the cream to just a simmer. Remove from the heat. Skim the skin off and add remaining 1/4 cup of cold cream and pinch of salt. Mix. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. If using a vanilla bean, steep it in the cream now for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk your eggs and sugar for a minute.
Then using a mesh sieve, strain the cream into a pitcher (or a 4 cup capacity glass measuring pitcher).
Add a tablespoon of the cream to the eggs, and make sure to keep whisking. Do this again. Begin tempering in the cream in a steady stream, whisking the whole time.
Then mix in your spices and extract and optional alcohol.
Use a mesh sieve to pour the eggnog creme brulee mixture into each ramekin. Divide evenly.
Then pout the boiled water into the baking dish so that it fills halfway up the ramekins. Don't get water into the eggnog creme brulee.
Bake for approx. 35 minutes, or until the edges are set and the middle still jiggles. If needed, use a thermometer to check for 170 degrees.
Take out of water bath and allow to cool at room temperature for about 1 hour. Then refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
To torch: take out ramekins and allow to be at room temperature for about 20 minutes Then sprinkle about a teaspoon of granulated sugar over each eggnog creme brulee. Torch it safely!
You can make this with or without alcohol. Use: brandy, bourbon, or rum. Or make it with a combo of rum and brandy!
The base of this is a classic vanilla bean crème brulee. You can take out the nutmeg and alcohol to achieve this classic recipe. If you prefer to make one large dish, that is also fine and will yield great results. All you will need to do is check your time and temp. Use a 10 inch tart pan, and bake for approx. 40-45 minutes.
Interested in what I used? Here are some affiliate links to the products! These affiliate links are free for you, but they do give me a small commission that I put back into this blog.