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The Delicious History and Recipe Of Crème Brûlée

You’ve likely heard of this sophisticated dessert but may not have tried it yet. Creme brulee is popular with a long history that when prepared correctly, can be a great addition to any full course meal. It is featured on our Miami Spice Lunch Menu in combination with your choice of a delicious entree and appetizer. For those days you want to impress your friends at a dinner party, we’ll share this creme brûlée recipe along with its historical context. You can thank us later. 

What is Creme Brulee?

Creme brûlée can be defined simply as custard with caramelized sugar on top. It is believed to be a French dish since the name is French. However, the origins of the custard can be dated back as far as the Middle Ages. The French version is baked in a pan of water and chilled. Once done, caramelized sugar is added using a blow torch and served warm. The delicious and creamy contrast of the warm topping and cool custard is a one-of-kind experience. 

Where is Creme Brulee From? 

Most food historians agree that food custards were popular during the Middle Ages and spread throughout Europe. There is still debate among Spanish, English, and French chefs as to who created the original creme brûlée. The most pressing question of who originated the caramelized sugar still remains unanswered:

  • England – Legend has it that during the 17th century, a college student came up with a new recipe and presented it to the kitchen staff at Trinity College in Cambridge, England. It was supposedly the beginnings of creme brûlée history made with an unsweetened custard and caramelized sugar topping. It was not accepted until the student became a fellow with an established reputation. Soon afterward, the kitchen staff took an interest in the new dish and named it Trinity Burnt Cream. Its popularity soared. 

It may not be proven that Trinity College invented the creme brûlée, but the school kitchen staff use the iron with the college crest for the caramelization process as a reminder of their invention. Even British citizens admit that Trinity Burnt Creme and creme brûlée are two different dishes. In fact, it’s accepted that the two may be creme brulee variations rather than originals. The French version is sweet while the Trinity Burnt Creme brûlée variations are made unsweetened with a crunchier and thicker crust. 

  • Spain – The Spanish have joined this debate with their own claims of the true originators of creme brûlée history. However, their version does not include baking the custard in a water bath. It was formerly known as crema Catalana and enjoyed on Saint Joseph’s Day. 

Creme Brûlée Recipe

As you make this delicious creme brûlée recipe, you become part of a long history of dessert lovers! This dish is meant to be enjoyed as a comforting and simple complement to a full course meal or as a solo star paired with a sweet white wine. No matter how you choose to enjoy it, your preparation will amaze your guests! Here’s where to start: 

Ingredients

  • Five egg yolks
  • One whole egg
  • Two cups of heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • Two teaspoons of vanilla
  • A pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup of granulated sugar

Preparation

  • Phase 1: First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Phase 2: Prepare four 6 ounce ramekins or custard cups with unsalted butter and set to the side. 
  • Phase 3: Beat the egg yolks in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Phase 4: Next, stir in the cream and strain this mixture into a sieve into another bowl.
  • Phase 5: Stir in half a cup of sugar, vanilla, and salt using a wire whisk until all sugar dissolves. 
  • Phase 6: Now, place this mixture into the ramekins and the ramekins into a large 9 x 13 glass dish. 
  • Phase 7: Take boiling water and carefully pour it into the glass dish, avoiding the custard. 
  • Phase 8: Place the dish with the ramekins in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Phase 9: Once done, remove the ramekins and place them on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. 
  • Phase 10: Next, cover the custard and place it in the refrigerator for four hours. 
  • Phase 11: After four hours, sprinkle the custard with one tablespoon of sugar. Take a kitchen torch and brown the sugar, moving evenly across each cup. Try not to burn the sugar in the process. 
  • Phase 12: Once complete, serve immediately with a spoon so that everyone is able to break the hard sugar top while scooping the cool custard. 

Creme Brûlée Variations

Most creme brulee variations are sweet, but others are savory. You’ll notice that the French recipes add a lot of sugar while others rely more heavily on vanilla flavoring. There are many other creme brulee variations like: 

  • Custard flavors – You’ll find some options that include orange zest or lemon as an added sweetener. Other popular variations include vanilla bean, cocoa, or coconut extract. Many recipes will include fruit like raspberries or blueberries. Many restaurants will include a couple of tablespoons of liquor from Grand Marnier, Amaretto, Irish Cream, or Kahlua. Another favorite is the addition of bittersweet chocolate sprinkled over the custard before the sugar is added. 
  • Different topping When you want to switch things up, you’ll find recipes that use liquor on the top and set the custard on fire for a dramatic effect. Rather than using a kitchen torch, you can place the custard cups into the oven and bake them for a few minutes. Finally, rather than using granulated sugar, brown sugar is an acceptable substitute. 

What is creme brulee without a little variation? While the world may never know who invented the creme brûlée, we can still enjoy its history in the tailored recipes we make from home! Like any recipe, you can make it yours once you’ve learned the basics of how to make it. Although considered a sophisticated dessert, it is a simple one to make. 

Creme Brulee on our Miami Spice Lunch Menu

If you don’t want to make creme brûlée from scratch, we can make it for you. Bring a significant other or a close friend to enjoy our Miami Spice Lunch Menu featuring this desert alongside your favorite entrees like: 

  • Grilled Mahi Sandwich – made with blackened mahi-mahi, brioche bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, smoked spicy aioli, and kosher pickles? 
  • Roasted Chicken – served with whipped potatoes, grilled asparagus, and chicken jus. 
  • PS Cheese Burger – an eight-ounce beef patty coupled with a brioche bun, aged cheddar cheese, and citrus aioli. 
  • Roasted Cauliflower Steak – served with piquillo pepper chimichurri, truffle aioli, shallot chips, and red chili oil. 

Any one of these entrees can be paired with your choice of appetizer between French Onion Soup and Classic Peruvian Ceviche. The meal is topped off with our Creme Brûlée made with orange zest and french vanilla to round an already perfect meal available Monday through Friday. 

Call today to book a reservation and bring a friend to enjoy our complete Miami Spice Lunch with dessert! 

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