Indulge in the rich and creamy flavors of Earl Grey Creme Brulee! This classic dessert gets a sophisticated twist with the subtle hints of bergamot from Earl Grey tea.
This recipe is perfect for impressing guests or treating yourself to a special dessert. Our step-by-step guide makes it easy to create the perfect creamy custard and crispy caramelized sugar topping.
Playing with food goes from being something we do with carefree abandon as kids to being something we don't even consider in the busyness of life and so Creme Brulée gives you time to play with your food. You can't even eat it without first playing with a tap tap tap and crack of the caramelized sugar.
History of Creme Brulee
One of the most famous dishes that every one naturally assumes is French (thanks to those fancy lines above the word brulee), but thanks to a long and lovely history from Gabriella Gershenson at Saveur we know this popular dessert has a swirling history that dates back a long time, but the recipe for how we eat it today was first formed in New York City in the 1980s, a place where so many great dishes we know and love have been created before and after this.
Why you'll love this
Unique and Sophisticated Flavor
The subtle, floral notes of Earl Grey tea add a sophisticated and unique twist to this classic dessert. It's the perfect way to elevate your dessert game and impress your guests.
Creamy and Decadent Texture
Creme brulee is known for its rich and creamy texture, and this recipe is no exception. The combination of cream, egg yolks, and sugar creates a smooth and velvety custard that's sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Easy to Make Ahead
This recipe is the perfect dessert for entertaining because it can be made ahead of time and chilled until ready to serve. Plus, the crispy caramelized sugar topping can be added just before serving, making for a stunning presentation that's sure to impress.
Ingredients and substitutions for Earl Gray Creme Brûlée
- Cream: Heavy cream was used here as it naturally makes the custard thick, but you could subsitute with pouring cream that will thicken thanks to baking.
- Egg yolks: Adding structure and making our custard what it is, the creme brulee would not be the same without these.
- Sugar: Superfine or caster sugar is used here because of how easily it dissolves and keeps our mixture smooth and adds sweetness without adding additional flavors to our custard. Raw sugar or light brown sugar are good substitutes, though you might end up with a slightly more grainy or adding a caramel flavor to the creme brulee.
- Earl Grey tea: Loose leaf is used here for an easy infusion that doesn't contain any tea bag nasties (if you aren't aware about this and love tea, definitely do some research). Earl grey tea bags are a fantastic substitute also.
- Salt: The flavor powerhouse that will give depth to your custard and ensure it doesn't feel too heavy or sweet due to those rich ingredients.
See recipe card for quantities.
You can definitely change up the dish by changing the following:
Chocolate - Add cocoa powder mixed with water in place of the coffee here for a chocolate creme brulee pie.
Orange - Fresh with a beautiful depth you could make an orange version as found here.
Equipment needed to make this
Saucepan: A small saucepan is best here because you don’t need much to create these!
Whisk: This will help you to create a smooth custard.
Ramekins: Small individual dishes are best for creme brulee giving every person who is served a chance to tap tap and break their own sugar topping.
Baking dish: You need to place the ramekins inside a larger baking dish and fill with boiling water to create a nice steamy atmosphere for the custard to bake within.
Blowtorch: A blowtorch (or placing under the oven broil or grill) will dissolve that sugar and give you that golden topping.
FAQ's for the best Earl Gray Creme Brûlée
How do I make sure my egg yolks don't curdle when adding in the hot cream?
The key to whisking your cream through the egg yolks is to ensure the cream has cooled enough, even 2 minutes, and adding to the eggs in stages to heat the eggs slowly and steadily.
What size ramekins are best for creme brulee?
The ramekins used here hold capacity for 250 milliliters / 1 cup, this provides enough dessert for those who want more than one spoonful, but not so much that you'll feel the serving is too much (some of us might feel it's not enough).
Is a crème brûlée hot or cold?
Traditionally the baked custard is refrigerated for several hours before adding that crunchy sugar topping.
Are there any variations on the earl grey creme brulee?
Yes!! You could opt to keep your creme brulee simple without any infusion or black or chai tea would also work well here. If tea isn't your thing, some freeze dried raspberries or blueberries stirred through the custard would also taste great!
More creamy desserts you'll enjoy
How to make:
Preheat your oven to 150C/325F.
Place the cream, salt and earl gray in a saucepan and heat on low heat until hot.
Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light.
Remove the cream from the heat and set aside for five minutes to steep, and cool. Remove the earl gray tea.
Pour a quarter of the infused cream into the egg mixture, stirring to combine, repeat adding the remaining cream into the eggs until fully incorporated.
Place your ramekins into a larger baking dish, pouring half the earl gray cream mixture into each.
Pour boiling water into the larger baking dish until it reaches half way up the sides of the ramekins.
Place in the oven until only the centers are jiggly, approximately 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and refrigerate for minimum 1 hour.
Just prior to serving, spoon enough sugar for a thin layer over the top of each custard and place under a broiler or blowtorch until the sugar has dissolved, is golden and slightly burnt on the edges.
Serve and tap to dig in!
Classy Creme Brulée lends itself to the tea infusion of earthy Earl Grey for a dessert for two which can easily be made ahead to make that famous caramelized sugar topping for serving time.
177 milliliters / ¾ cup pouring cream
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons loose earl gray or 2 tea bags
3 egg yolks, room temperature
50 grams / ¼ cup superfine/caster sugar, plus 8 grams / ½ tablespoon for topping
- Preheat your oven to 150C/325F.
- Place the cream, salt and earl gray in a saucepan and heat on low heat until hot.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light.
- Remove the cream from the heat and set aside for five minutes to steep, and cool. Remove the earl gray tea.
- Pour a quarter of the infused cream into the egg mixture, stirring to combine, repeat adding the remaining cream into the eggs until fully incorporated.
- Place your ramekins into a larger baking dish, pouring half the earl gray cream mixture into each.
- Pour boiling water into the larger baking dish until it reaches half way up the sides of the ramekins.
- Place in the oven until only the centers are jiggly, approximately 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and refrigerate for minimum 1 hour.
- Just prior to serving, spoon enough sugar for a thin layer over the top of each custard and place under a broiler or blowtorch until the sugar has dissolved, is golden and slightly burnt on the edges.
- Serve and tap to dig in!
Adapted from the NY Times
- Calories: 484 calories per serve