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 texture!
Creme brulee is a classic dessert that is perfect in it’s vanilla base form, and even more delicious with some flavor boosts. During the holidays I drink a lot of Eggnog. In fat, it’s my favorite drink of all Cozy & Comforting Cold Weather Cocktails For All 12 Days of Christmas! So in continuing our countdown to Christmas, I’m combining two of my favorite indulgences and giving you an Eggnog Creme Brulee that will knock your cozy socks off!
Crème brulees may seem intimidating, however, they are actually a rewarding dessert that requires a bit of technique and patience. Once you nail a crème brulee, you can take on anything in the whole wide world of baking! The biggest problems that tend to arise are, getting a scrambled-egg like texture, a filling that did not set or is too hard, and of course, the scrumptious torched sugar at the end.
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. So make sure you know what you need and how much of each ingredient. This Eggnog creme brulee is a simple take on an elegant vanilla bean classic, and it will fill you with the flavors of a true holiday dessert.
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 a kitchen blow-torch. For this eggnog creme brulee, I make some with alcohol and some without (for the kids). I’ll even show you an easy and handy trick I use to distinguish the sweet from the sinful.
The special equipment for this Creme Brulee recipe will include a thermometer, coquettes or ramekins, and a kitchen torch. You can also find my favorites ones and other kitchen tools I use here – A Baker’s Tool Guide & 5 Kitchen Essentials For Fall. I will also have a list of specifics used in this recipe at the end of this post.
You do not want this cream to over-boil, so as soon as it begins to boil, turn that heat down low. Once you remove from heat you will add in your vanilla bean or extract (if you did not use the vanilla bean). This is also the time you will add in alcohol if using it for all ramekins.
The first step in the creme brulee recipe is to whisk your sugar and egg yolks. This is Bea’s main job for this recipe. As you can see, the vanilla wafted up and she thinks it already smells great!
Get your nutmeg grated and ready. You will add this into your egg yolk mixture.
And now it will smell even better!!
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 that cold cream to the steamed cream and give it a quick whisk. Take about a tablespoon and while vigorously whisking your egg mixture, slowly trickle in that small amount of hot cream. Now do that again. Then take the saucepan and while vigorously whisking with all of your might, trickle in the rest while mixing. You will have a smooth custard mixture. You did it!
To booze or not to booze?
That is your decision! When I make anything with alcohol I make sure to differentiate which has the booze 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 coquettes. 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.
Once your dishes are filled you will them nicely nestled in their water bath and in the oven. Tip- The water bath should be filled halfway, so half of your dish is submerged.
And after you have this cooked for at least 35 minutes, you will want to use your thermometer to check on your creme brulee custard. Once the temperature is between 170-175 degrees and you have that slight and merry jiggle still in place, bring them out and you will remove the dishes from water bath. You will cool these in the fridge for at least 3 hours. You can even leave them overnight. Creme brulee is such a great make-ahead dessert! Here’s what your set and smooth custard will look like.
Now on to the torching! Here’s a short torching video to get you in the mood to get these Creme Brulees lit!
Let your creme brulee rest for about 20 minutes before torching. Then sprinkle on about a teaspoon of granulated sugar and gently get to work. Remember, it does not have to look perfect! That’s what fruit and decorations are for! The result and taste is way more important than the actual look, ok?!
That velvety custard is too much deliciousness!
And then just jazz them up and serve!
Eggnog Creme Brulee Recipe
- 2 Cups of Heavy Cream
- pinch of salt
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar plus more for caramelizing
- Vanilla Bean Pod (or use 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons dark rum like Myers (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of brandy (optional)
Bring cream (minus 1/4 cup) and pinch of salt in a saucepan to a low boil then immediately reduce heat to low. Steep for 15 minutes with vanilla bean pod, if using. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar. If you are using vanilla extract or paste add it in here or into the saucepan of cream once removed from heat. Add in alcohol if using. Add reserved cream to lower heat of cream before tempering. To temper add in a tablespoon of hot cream mixture to egg while vigorously whisking. Do another tablespoon then trickle in the rest, always whisking! Then pour into dishes and bake in a water bath for approximately 40 minutes or until your thermometer reads 170-175 degrees. Cool for 3 hours or overnight. Then let rest for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar and torch gently and safely! Indulge in the joyous eggnog crème brulee and the holiday season!
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.
As you read in my https://ritzymom.com/2018/01/08/great-grandma-sophias-butter-cake/, my Mom makes a flan to beat! Creme brulee is similar to Flan. Here’s a little guide for you- https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-flan-and-pudding
Interested in what I used? Here are some affiliate links to the products!