I love crème brûlée. Like a lot. Like in an “I have a Tumblr dedicated to it” and an “I got TWO culinary torches for my birthday last year” kind of way. But the classic vanilla can get a little boring sometimes, so I decided that I wanted to find a way to spice it up without sacrificing the integrity of the dessert.
The easiest way to do that, I found, was to infuse something into the cream while making the custard. Following this line of thought, it wasn’t hard to decide that I wanted to infuse the cream with Earl Grey tea bags because I figured that the mild but distinct flavor of the Earl Grey would add an incredible layer of complexity to the classic flavor of vanilla crème brûlée. A quick google search told me that I was right and that Earl Grey crème brûlée is definitely a thing that everyone should get behind.
Even though there were already a few recipes for Earl Grey crème brûlée floating around the interwebz, for this recipe I slightly modified Alton Brown’s classic crème brûlée recipe, simply because I’ve found that crème brûlée can be a fairly finicky dish, and Alton’s recipe has always worked for me in the past. But if you’re careful and pay attention to the details in this recipe, you’ll be rewarded with an awesome batch of crème brûlée. Happy cooking!
Earl Grey Crème brûlée
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
- Servings: 4 Servings
Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit.
Start boiling the water in a sauce pan. Depending on the size of the dish or you’ll be baking the custard in, you may need to adjust the amount of hot water you’ll need. The water will need to be about halfway up the ramekins.
Pour the heavy cream into a medium-sized saucepan, and add the vanilla extract and tea bags.
#spoontip: Don’t have heavy cream on hand? Half and half works just fine, your custard will just be a little thinner.
Bring the cream to a boil and remove from heat. Remove the tea bags and let the hot cream sit for 10 minutes.
Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks.
Slowly add the hot cream to the sugary yolk mixture, being sure to mix continuously.
Prepare the ramekins by placing them in a deep casserole or similar pan. You will need to bake the custard in a water bath, so make sure it is a dish or pan that you will be able to full about half full with hot water.
Once the custard mixture is uniformly mixed, carefully pour it into the ramekins, filling them as uniformly as possible.
Pour hot water into the pan until the bottom halves of the ramekins are submerged.
#Spoontip: Be really, really careful when pouring the water, if ANY gets into the custard it can seriously mess up the consistency.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the creme looks mostly set but still jiggles a little bit in the middle.
Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least two hours.
Immediately before serving, spread a small amount of sugar (about a teaspoon or so) on top of the creme brulee.
Melt the sugar with a culinary torch.
#Spoontip: No torch? Broil for a few minutes in the oven to melt the sugar on top.
Wait a few minutes for the sugar to harden.
Put on your fancy pants, crack the melted sugar as loudly as possible and enjoy!