May 10, 2021: Crème Brûlée
May 11th, 2021 by Max Koster

Welcome to, a site my sister Alex and I (Max),  started in 2015 to talk about healthy food, kids’ cooking, and how to help hungry people. To learn more about why we started the site and what hunger-relief charities we support, please scroll down a bit to the “About Kids Cook Dinner…Chopped Junior” page and consider donating to a hunger-relief charity.  We recommend Feeding America, Action Against Hunger, or if you’re local in NYC, City Harvest.  (Click the name of the charity to donate.) COVID has made hunger even worse both in the United States and worldwide,  so please if you are able to, think about donating to support hungry families.

Although I have been focusing on cooking meals that don’t require many ingredients (since I am heading to college soon), today I really craved Crème Brûlée.  I also wanted to use the butane torch that has been sitting in our cupboard since the last time Alex and I made this dessert. (That was five years ago, for Valentine’s Day, 2016.  I can’t believe my mom let a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old use a butane torch!) Anyway, this recipe is courtesy of Mark Bittman and The New York Times and is simple and delicious.  If you don’t have the butane torch, you can use the oven broiler, but the torch is more fun.

Here are the ingredients you need:

  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 5 Egg Yolks
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar (plus more for caramelization
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla


You will also need some enamel ramekins.  The recipe calls for four 6-ounce ramekins, but I used six 4-ounce ramekins since that’s what we had.


The first step is to preheat the oven to 325 degrees, heat water in a teapot, and find a shallow rectangular pan to eventually place the ramekins in.

Then heat the cream and salt on low just until hot.


Meanwhile, separate the 5 egg yolks and beat them with the 1/2 cup sugar until light.

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Stir one cup of the hot cream into the sugar-egg mix, beat, and then pour the sugar egg mix in the remaining cream and beat.

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Carefully pour the combined mix in the ramekins and place in the rectangular pan.


Move the pan as close to the oven (to minimize how far you have to carry it).  Add the boiling water to the pan with the ramekins, about halfway up the sides of the dishes.


Bake for 30-40 minutes till centers barely set.  Remove the ramekins from the baking pan and let cool for several hours.  You could also prepare this a day ahead and keep well covered in the fridge.


When ready to serve, sprinkle each custard with a teaspoon of sugar in a thin layer.  Carefully read the instructions of your butane torch if you are using one!  (If you don’t have a torch, broil in the oven for 3-5 minutes but keep a close watch on them.)


Then fire away! (This was the best part of the recipe)

Our torch was really powerful.  I realized I needed to move it around a bit more: otherwise, some areas would get a little too brown.

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Decorate with fresh berries if you have them (they can also hide brown spots).



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