I love Creme Brûlée, especially this Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée. While it sounds fancy, you should know that Creme Brûlée is accessible even for a beginner in the kitchen.
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Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée in white ramekins


Easier Than You Think!

Creme Brûlée only has a few ingredients and is probably easier to make than you might think. That said,  there are few things you need to know to allow the process of making this creamy delight go more smoothly.

Orange Vanilla Creme Brulee in a white ramekin topped with fresh raspberries


Prepare Ingredients Before you Begin

Once you begin making Creme Brûlée it comes together very quickly, so you want all items measured out and prepared before you start.

Zesting Citrus:

I use a  microplane (affiliate link) to zest citrus. When zesting citrus, only scrape the very outer surface of the fruit. The white layer underneath is bitter. As soon as the white is exposed, move to a new area.

An orange with a microplane full of orange zest on a cutting board

The Vanilla Paste:

The combination of fresh zest and vanilla is lovely! I always use the amazing Nielsen Massey vanilla paste (affiliate 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 the creme brûlée making it looks even prettier. But you are welcome to use extract if you prefer.

A jar of vanilla paste to be used in Orange Vanilla Creme Brulee



This is the only tricky part about making creme brûlée and it’s called ‘tempering’. If you follow the directions in the recipe below you will be fine, but I just want to explain the concept.

Ramekins, egg yolks and sugar: preparations for making Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée

After heating the cream, if you were to add it to the eggs all at once they would cook and curdle. To avoid this you ‘temper’ by slowly adding a small amount of cream to eggs and mixing in between additions. This prevents curdling by warming the eggs slowly while simultaneously cooling the cream.

Four pink bowls showing the pgrogressing of tempering Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée

The “Bain Marie” or Water Bath:

Bain Marie means ‘water bath’ in french. This helps the Creme Brûlée cook evenly. Place ramekins in a glass baking dish and add 1″ of water to dish. Cook the Creme Brûlée only until sides are set and the center is still jiggly, usually about 25 minutes but this can vary depending on the size ramekin you use. Because ramekins stay hot after removal from the oven the Creme Brûlée continues to cook. If you wait till the centers are firm to remove from the oven you dessert will be over cooked. That’s it! Easy right?

Showing how to make a Bain Marie (water bath) for Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée

The Final Touch!

Now you decide on the finishing touch. You can torch (affiliate link) sugar for that crispy top or simply top with berries or a twisted slice of citrus! If you choose to torch sugar here is how you do it: after cooking, cool Creme Brûlée in refrigerator for three hours. Then spoon a thin layer of Caster or baker’s sugar on top….

A female's hand holding a spoon and sprinkling sugar on Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée


A female's hand torching sugar on Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée


…then hold the 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. Whichever way you choose to top it, this Creme Brûlée will be delicious. Your friends are going to be so impressed!

Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée in white ramekin on beige tablecloth

Three ramekins of Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée set on beige table cloth




The Recipe: Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée

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

4 from 1 vote
Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins

I love Creme Brûlée, especially this Orange Vanilla Creme Brûlée. While it sounds fancy, you should know that Creme Brûlée is accessible, even for a beginner in the kitchen.

Course: Dessert
Keyword: easy dessert recipe, holiday recipe, kid-friendly recipes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Linda Spiker
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • ¾ cup caster sugar or super fine baker’s sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
  • Zest from two small oranges
  • 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 oranges. 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.




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Post tags: dessert, desserts, gluten free