Creme Brulee is extremely easy to make, rich in texture and full of flavor, this is such an amazingly delicious dessert. It is a classic recipe with four simple ingredients. I have experimented with adding cinnamon or other flavorings in lieu of the vanilla to the liquid mixture prior to baking, but the vanilla is still the classic king. For this version I am digging into the cocoa for these Chocolate Creme Brulee.
What’s Creme Brulee?
It’s not a flan or a pudding, but a rich vanilla flavored custard topped with a hard caramel.
What is in Creme Brulee?
It’s pretty simple and the ingredients are heavy cream, eggs, cocoa, vanilla and sugar. That’s it and there is no tempering of the cream and eggs with this recipe!
Some people would think this to be a difficult dessert to make, but it is seriously easy with minimal ingredients and hands down is one of my top 5 desserts. Thick, creamy, and if done right, NOT like a loose, giggly flan. I dislike that texture. This has a rich, custard like feel to it and the addition of chocolate has taken this to an entirely new level.
The best part of this dessert is taking your spoon and cracking the hard, melted and caramelized sugar topping the rich indulgent chocolate creme. The contrast in textures on the tongue, the rich delicious flavors and satisfaction knowing you made this is fantastic. This is a dessert to really treat your guests to at that next dinner party.
Start by preheating your oven 300°F. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg yolks with the sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is a pale yellow. Add the cocoa powder and beat into egg yolk and sugar mixture. Next add the whipping cream and vanilla, and beat on low until well blended.
Pour the mixture through a sieve to remove air bubbles into 8 ramekins or custard cups. Place filled ramekins in a water bath using a large pan filled with hot water that will almost reach top of ramekins) and bake until set, about 50 minutes. See the below photo? The water is about three quarters of the way up the sides of the ramekins to slowly simmer and cook the creme to perfection.
Carefully remove the pan from oven and leave in the water bath until cooled. Remove ramekins from water bath and place in refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
Prior to serving, sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar over each custard. I use a small, hand-held torch to melt sugar until a lightly burnt syrup is made. If you don’t have a torch, place under the broiler until sugar melts. Optionally, re-chill the ramekins to harden the sugar for 15 minutes before serving.
Let me walk you through how to make the Classic Creme Brulee here with my How to Make Creme Brulee. Enjoy!
This recipe first appeared on Kevin Is Cooking August 2015 and has been updated with new copy, photos and video.
Chocolate Creme Brulee
- 10 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder (use good quality, like Valrhona)
- 1/4 cup sugar for caramelizing tops after cooking
- Preheat oven 300°F. Separate egg yolks from whites and save egg whites for another use.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg yolks with the sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is a pale yellow. Add the whipping cream, vanilla, cocoa powder and beat on low until well blended.
- I pour the mixture through a strainer into your 8 ramekins (See Note 1) or custard cups to get rid of any foam or bubbles. (See Note 2)
- Place the filled ramekins into a large roasting pan with sides (13x9") and carefully pour hot water around ramekins so that the water almost reaches the top of ramekins. Bake until set, about 50 minutes.
- Carefully remove pan from oven and leave in the water bath until cooled.
- Remove ramekins from water bath, wipe water off and place in refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
- Prior to serving, remove from refrigerator and sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar over each custard top. Using a small, hand-held torch melt the sugar until a burnt caramel is made. If you don't have a torch, place under the broiler until sugar melts. *Optionally - Re-chill the ramekins to harden the sugar for 15 minutes then serve. (See Note 3)
- The size I use here are 3 1/4" in diameter, 1 1/4" deep and hold roughly a 1/2 cup.
- I find pouring through a strainer eliminates any foam and leaves a smooth surface. This is purely optional.
- If not serving right away, do not do the sugar topping part. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 days. Top with sugar and torch/broil before serving. It will not stay completely hard if done more than 3 hours prior.