Vanilla-Ginger Crème Brulee

Piquant ginger adds a slightly spicy tickle to the palate in this sophisticated twist on the classic crème brulee. 

  • Yield: Makes 4

All you need for this recipe and more...


2 cups heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 chopped crystallized ginger

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

pinch of salt

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup plus 8 teaspoons sugar


1. Preheat oven to 325°F. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, vanilla bean, crystallized ginger, fresh ginger, and salt. Warm over medium heat until the surface begins to shimmer, about 5 minutes, cover, reduce the heat to low and barely simmer 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain into a clean bowl. 

2. Whisk together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar until well blended. Slowly pour the warm cream into the egg mixture, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Pour the mixture into a large measuring cup. 

3. Place (4) 7-ounce ramekins in a bain-marie.* Carefully pour the milk mixture into the ramekins. Pour enough water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place the bain-marie in the oven and bake until almost set in the center (it may still wobble a little in the center but will firm up as it chills) about 26-27 minutes minutes. Remove ramekins from the bain-marie and cool 20 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. 

4. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the remaining sugar evenly over each custard.  Working one at a time, move torch in a circular motion about 2-inches above the surface until the sugar melts and browns, about 1-2 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 hours. 

Description: A traditional creamy, rich custard with a burnt sugar top gets a piquant twist with the addition of both fresh and crystallized ginger. 

* Bain-marie simply means water-bath. Use any baking dish, oven-proof pan or casserole that will comfortably hold the ramekins and water.