Pecorino Crème Brulee with Caramelized Balsamic Sugar

By Marge Perry & David Bonom

Balsamic vinegar adds a subtly hint of tang to the sweet bruleed topping on this pecorino custard. It may be made in advance and served at room temperature, but the topping should not be added and torched until just before serving. 

  • Yield: Makes 4 servings

All you need for this recipe and more...


1 cup heavy cream

2 ounces fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese

3 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place 4 (4-ounce) ramekins in a 13 x 9-inch roasting pan. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat; remove from the heat. 

2. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the cheese and cook, stirring, until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk a small amount of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, then whisk in the remaining cream in 2 additions. Divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins. Pour just enough of the hot water into the roasting pan to come 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. 

3. Bake the custards until they are just set (they should slightly jiggle in the center), about 21-22 minutes. Remove from the oven then use a wide spatula to transfer the ramekins to a heatproof surface. 

4. Combine the sugar, vinegar, and salt in a bowl; mixing until the vinegar is evenly distributed. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the 4 custards. 

5. Working with one custard at a time, move the Crème Brulee torch in a circular motion about 2-inches above the surface until the sugar melts and browns, about 1-2 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.