Lemon Vanilla Creme Brûlée!


I love Creme Brûlée and am excited about showing you that Creme Brûlée is accessible, even for a beginner in the kitchen. This dessert recipe is found in my cookbook “Seasonal Favorites from The Organic Kitchen Cookbook: Spring/ Summer Menus”. 

Lemon Vanilla Creme Brûlée

Creme Brûlée may sound intimidating but it’s actually easy to make! There are only a few ingredients, cream, sugar, egg yolks and in this case lemon zest and vanilla paste. Here are a few tips to make the process go smoothly. 

Lemon Vanilla Creme Brûlée
Tip #1. Use Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste (affilliate link) instead of extract. Paste is more flavorful than extract without the overwhelming alcohol taste. And it contains vanilla bean flecks that are visible in our creme brûlée…so pretty! 
Lemon Vanilla Creme BrûléeTip #2: I like to use caster sugar (sometimes called Baker’s sugar) (affiliate link) when making this recipe. It’s a very fine sugar that dissolves very quickly. Regular sugar works fine too, just whisk a little longer to give it more time to dissolve.

Lemon Vanilla Creme Brûlée

Tip #3 ~Tempering: When making Creme Brulee, using a technique ‘tempering’ keeps the eggs from curdling. To temper simply hot cream mixture one ladle full at a time to egg mixture. This slowly warms the eggs so they don’t curdle. Whisk after each addition. 

Lemon Vanilla Creme Brûlée

Tip #4 ~ How to make a ‘bain marie’ (water bath):  put ramekins in a large glass baking dish and add about an inch of water. This helps the Creme Brûlée cook evenly.

Tip #5 ~Bake the Creme Brûlée only until sides are set and centers still jiggle, this usually takes about 25 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending what size ramekins you use. Because  ramekins remain hot after removal from the oven the Creme Brûlée continues to cook. If you wait till the centers are firm, it will be overcooked.  These colorful Le Creuscet ramekins are available here (affiliate link)

That’s it! Easy right? Now to decide on the finishing touch. I like to put berries or a thin twist of lemon slice on top. But if you want to make it the traditional way here is how you torch sugar…

Lemon Vanilla Creme Brûlée

When cool cover Creme Brûlée with plastic and place in the fridge for at least three hours. Then spoon a thin layer of Caster or Baker’s sugar on top.

Lemon Vanilla Creme Brûlée

Hold torch a few inches from sugar and move in a circular motion till sugar starts to melt. Keep moving the torch or you will burn the sugar.

Lemon Vanilla Creme Brûlée

Whichever way you choose to top it, this dessert will be delicious! Your friends are going to be so impressed!

The Recipe: Lemon Vanilla Creme Brûlée

You will need:  ramekins (mine are 6oz), vanilla paste, microplane (for zesting) and a large glass baking dish. (affiliate links)


Lemon Vanilla Creme Brûlée
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6-8
  • 8 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup caster sugar (or super fine baker’s sugar)
  • 2 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
  • Zest from three lemons
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp extract but I highly recommend paste!) Raspberries, a lemon slice, or torched caster sugar for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place rack in bottom ⅓ of oven to prevent browning. Place ramekins in a glass baking dish and set aside.
  2. Separate eggs.
  3. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl (preferably with a pouring spout)
  4. Set aside.
  5. Zest lemons. Set aside.
  6. Pour cream into a pot (rounded bottom if you have one) Turn on high heat. Watch closely.
  7. As soon as bubbles form on the sides and center is steaming, immediately turn off heat.
  8. Now add zest and vanilla to cream. Stir well.
  9. Temper: Add cream mixture one ladle full at a time to bowl with eggs/sugar mixture.
  10. Stir well between additions.
  11. This is called 'tempering'. When all cream is stirred into eggs pour into ramekins filling them ⅔ full. Depending on the size of the ramekins you use, this recipe should make 6-8 servings.
  12. Make a water bath or 'bain Marie' by pouring water into a baking till water is about an inch deep.
  13. Set ramekins in the baking dish. Bake for 25-30 or until the center of the jiggles but the sides are firm. Do not over cook as this dessert will continue to cook in the ramekins once it is removed from the oven.
  14. Once cooled, cover and place in refrigerator for three hours (although...I love it warm! You just can't make the crispy sugar top till completely cooled:)
  15. You can now either sprinkle with super fine sugar and torch or top with berries.


Lemon Vanilla Creme Brûlée


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Post tags: dessert, custard, pudding


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