Keeping with the trend of teaching custard-based desserts here on this site, I have for readers an improvised Creme Brûlée. This variation usually involves throwing a cooked custard into some ramekins, then throwing those into an oven to be baked off, and finally topping them off with caramelized sugar -- that last step requires the use of a blow torch or broiler. Hence, the French term.

However, not all baked custards need to be baked. They can also be prepared inversely which is the trick behind today's recipe. Also included are several variations to this cold Creme Brûlée.

Cold Creme Brûlée recipe


  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Granulated sugar as needed


  1. Chill 6 ramekins in a freezer for half an hour before filling.
  2. Pour the half-and-half and vanilla extract into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Do not let it boil.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks. Do not over whisk. Temper the mixture by whisking in 1/4 of the heated half-and-half. Pour the mix back into the saucepan and whisk it all together.
  4. Continue simmering the custard for about 10 minutes or until it becomes thick. Remove from heat and set to cool for a minute.
  5. Pour equal amounts of the custard into each ramekin and set to cool again for 4 minutes.
  6. Chill the filled ramekins in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.
  7. When serving, sprinkle granulated sugar evenly on top and caramelize gently with a blow torch, broiler or the surface of a heated spoon until it turns brown. Do not overheat.

Serves: 6


NB: Most of these variations can increase the custard's volume to a certain amount and as such the amount of ramekins required must be increased by 2.

  • Chocolate Brûlée: Melt 1 1/2 cups of bittersweet chocolate with the heated half-and-half and add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to the yolk/sugar mixture.
  • Passion Fruit Brûlée Add 1/2 cup of passion fruit juice to the yolks/sugar mixture.
  • Ackee Brûlée Add 1/2 cup parboiled ackee to the yolk/sugar mixture.
  • Coconut Brûlée Substitute 1 1/3 cup of whole milk and 2/3 cup of coconut milk for the half-and-half. Substitute coconut extract for the vanilla extract.
  • Lemon Brûlée Add the juice and zest of 1 lemon to the yolk/sugar mixture. NB: Adjustment to ramekin amount not required.
  • Espresso Brûlée Add 1/2 cup of espresso powder to the yolk/sugar mixture. Adjustment to ramekin amount not required.