Crème Brûlée

Robert Evans once questioned whether crème bruelle (which I assume is another name for crème brûlée) was PHD-compliant.

It is, and we decided to make some. It turns out it’s real easy.


Here’s what we used: ¼ cup rice syrup, orange zest, 1 cup heavy cream, 4 egg yolks, and about 5 drops vanilla extract. The orange zest is optional; lemon juice or a bit of lemon zest could also be used.


Preheat the oven to 325 F (160 C).

Combine heavy cream, rice syrup, orange zest, and vanilla extract in a sauce pan and warm it at low heat for 5 minutes or so until it is tiny bubbles appear but it is not boiling.

While the cream mixture is warming, whisk the egg yolk.

Transfer the cream mixture a little bit at a time into the egg yolk and continue whisking, until all of the cream has been transferred.

Then distribute the mixture into smaller containers suitable for serving, and place the small containers into a few inches of near-boiling water in an oven-safe pan:

Place the whole pan into the oven for 25 minutes at 325 F. After 20-25 minutes take a small container out and shake it; if the custard is firm then it’s done.

Remove the small containers and refrigerate them for at least 2 hours. We refrigerated them in this aluminum pan:

Once they are cold, the traditional recipe calls for sprinkling sugar on top and then caramelizing it with a blowtorch (or a broiler if the blowtorch is lacking).

Well, we didn’t have a blowtorch and didn’t feel obliged to caramelize our rice syrup, so we simply drizzled our custard with rice syrup or sprinkled it with cocoa powder:

It was delicious! Served cold, it’s great for summertime.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Looks great! I really should make some…

  2. ive made this exact recipe before with coconut milk and we blow torched the top. It wasn’t perfect on top (no cane sugar), but close enough!

  3. Do you need to use raw cream or is pasteurized cream ok as well?

  4. Hi Monika,

    We use pasteurized cream because it’s so hard to get raw cream.

    If you can get fresh raw cream, that’s great!

  5. Thanks for the recipe, Paul – I love crème brûlée! 🙂


  6. Crème brûlée means “Burnt Cream”. If you don’t create a sugar crust, it’s no longer crème brûlée. A more appropriate name for this dessert, if you want to stick to French, would be “Flan à la vanille”

  7. Thanks Angelyne. I took some French in high school but it’s all gone now.

  8. Hi Paul,

    let’s just stick to baked custard. This is not necessarily a French dessert, it has its origins in Roman times, they probably took it from the Greeks and so on. Crema catalana is similar (contains the caramelised sugar topping) but made with milk.

    I know you talked about rice syrup before. Have you checked since to see what kind of sugars it contains? Is it really only glucose?

  9. Hi simona,

    It has a mix of sugars — some glucose, but mainly maltose (disaccharide of glucose), maltotriose (trisaccharide of glucose), and some longer saccharides.

    But it digests to glucose. It’s just easier digesting and sweeter tasting rice. It has the same elemental sugar composition as rice.

    Best, Paul

  10. Is it possible to substitute rice syrup with stevia? I’ve actually studied professional baking (serious hobby) and am very interested in developing recipes for gluten free/ sugar desserts and baked goods. If I can’t find rice syrup, can I use glucose powder instead, adding water to make into syrup?

  11. Hi Jana,

    Yes, it’s OK to substitute stevia, or sugar alcohols, if you want a sugar free sweetener. Glucose powder / dextrose is fine too.

    I would advise staying away from blowtorches if you use a sugar substitute!

  12. Dear Paul Jaminet,

    Please, please, please write a series of blog articles criticizing the hell out of the newest release by the USDA: “myplate” (

    The USDA and Michelle Obama have said that the food pyramid was to complex for the average American to understand – and they have explicitly blamed it as the cause of obesity in America.

    A glance at ‘my plate’ clearly shows it is nothing new in regards to promoting a diet for the populace – I am insulted that they would promote this garbage as the fix of obesity. Further, it clearly shows no real critical thinking regarding a gov’t promoted diet plan.

    You will see that there is no ‘fat’ category on ‘myplate’. I hope this lights a fire under your butt and you raise the public view of the Perfect Health Diet to new levels.

    Warm regards,

  13. Hi Steve,

    It looks ripe for mockery. They should compare it to a photo of Michelle Obama’s plate from a White House dinner. I bet the White House chef knows how to make rich sauces.

    We’ll be making up our own plate this summer but it will be slightly more complex. Rest assured, there will be some fat in it!

    Best, Paul

  14. I also thought about making a remark about our first lady and her attempts at revelance, but she’s just too easy a target.

    Looking forward to the PHD plate.

  15. Moderation | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 3 - pingback on August 6, 2011 at 10:42 am
  16. Hi Paul,

    I recently purchased this product: and wanted to tell you and others about it. It’s delicious and seems excellent, nutritionally. It’s made from coconut and has no additives. It would be really good on Chris Kresser’s wonderful buckwheat pancakes:

    I assume the sugar in coconut is glucose so please correct me if you know differently.

  17. What about crispy bacon?? yes/no??

  18. Was searching for the coconut custard u mentioned on a podcast and came across this, it looks amazing! Can’t wait to make this tonight.

  19. 布丁 | 無聊的吉醫生 - pingback on June 6, 2014 at 1:49 am
  20. Hi, thanks for all the great recipes. Would love to see printable versions, with the pictures please.

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