Whether the kitchen is your element or not, this simple recipe for classic creme brulee (with flavorful variations) will send you straight to heaven! So rich your guests will never guess this low-fat recipe is healthy to boot! (For fat-free version, see "Variations & Tips".)
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 ½ cup canned evaporated fat-free milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup fat-free half & half
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 3 tablespoons sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium saucepan, mix fat-free milk and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in sugar and evaporated fat-free milk, combining well. Place saucepan over medium heat and warm through, stirring regularly, until mixture just begins to boil. Remove from heat and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together fat-free half & half with the egg yolks. Add a small amount of hot milk mixture, gently stirring in, then pour egg mixture gradually into saucepan with the rest of the milk mixture, stirring constantly. Add vanilla and brandy and stir to combine.
Place six 1-cup ramekins or dessert dishes in two 13 x 9 baking pans. Divide custard mixture into the 6 ramekins. Pour hot water into the pans, creating a water bath for the ramekins. Place pans in the oven and bake 30 minutes or until custard is set. Remove ramekins from water bath and chill several hours or until completely cold.
Immediately before serving, sprinkle 1 - 2 teaspoons of sugar on top of each dish of custard. Using a small butane-fuel torch, heat sugar until it caramelizes, turning a light brown. (For those that do not own a butane torch, see "Variations & Tips" for instructions to caramelize.)
Variations & Tips
- Substitute flavored liqueur for brandy to add variety to the standard creme brulee. Examples: Kahlua, Cointreau, Triple Sec, Amaretto, Frangelico, Grand Marnier, Creme de Cacao, Limoncello, Bailey's Irish Cream, etc.
- Place whole fresh berries or layer sliced fruit in the bottoms of ramekins before pouring custard mixture into them.
- Spread a thin layer of low-sugar fruit preserves (apricot, raspberry, and orange marmalade are particularly delicious) over the bottom of each ramekin before pouring custard.
- While the fat in this recipe is already minimal, if a completely fat-free flan is desired, substitute 1/3 cup Egg Beaters or similar textured fat-free egg substitute for egg yolks. Texture, however, may differ slightly from the traditional with this variation.
- If you do not own a torch and/or do not wish to purchase one, you may caramelize the tops of your custards under the broiler. When using this method, be very careful to watch closely, as they tend to turn rather more quickly than under a torch.
bakingSense from Vaughan, Canada on December 13, 2012:
Wow, great idea for making it lower fat and still enjoyable!
sara on January 28, 2011:
what if I don't want to buy brandy or any time of alcohol what can I replace it with?
Hello on November 27, 2008:
YUMMY!! My creme brulee is probably the most deliciously yet disgustingly fattening dessert in the world - this gives me an alternative to baking Alli (the weight loss pill) into my brulees!! ;)
blackjava from Canada on April 13, 2008:
Creme Brulee is great. I have one I make using coffee. Gives it a wonderful flavor.
Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 04, 2007:
Yum- O! :)
Cheryl Regina on December 03, 2007:
Wow...yummy! I love this dearie. Thank you so much for sharing. Keep it up!
MrMarmalade from Sydney on December 03, 2007:
Saved and printed for a more festive time
Do you have a favourite Christmas cake you would like to send me?
I am writing a book on Christmas Cakes of the World. You will be acknowledged
If you have 2/ 3 I will not say no
Earth Angel on December 03, 2007:
Yummie!! What a GREAT Hub Maddie!! My Minister LOVES Creme Brulee but can't eat it often because of health concerns!! I added your ingredients to my shopping list this very minute!! Thank you for sharing!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!