If you love eggnog and you love a creamy, custardy dessert, you’re going to love this Eggnog Creme Brulee recipe. Super simple to make and minimal ingredients make this recipe perfect for Christmas entertaining (or just a sneaky treat for yourself).
Just like my Chocolate Creme Brulee and Salted Caramel Pots De Creme, this creme brulee recipe has a pudding-like custardy texture which is soft, luscious and feels totally extravagant and indulgent – all without the use of expensive ingredients and with barely any effort.
Ever since I made my Chocolate Creme Brulee I’ve been wanting to make another version. Last year, I worked out how simple it is to make a gorgeous Christmas dessert out of eggnog with my Boozy Eggnog Panna Cotta so it felt like the perfect combination to put the two together.
What is creme brulee?
Creme brulee is made up of two parts – a baked custard base (the creme) and a crispy toffee topping (the brulee). It’s a basic custard mixture of things like milk or cream, eggs and sugar, with the classic flavour being vanilla. The custard gets baked in small ramekins and the top is covered with sugar which is then torched to turn to toffee. This toffee top should give the all important ‘crack’ that is absolutely necessary for a creme brulee.
That crack, when you first break into your creme brulee with a spoon, is so deeply satisfying and then the smooth sweet custard below is the perfect contrasting texture.
How to make creme brulee
This is the best bit, because it’s so ridiculously easy. There are a few important (but not difficult) steps you need to take in order for your creme brulee to be perfect though.
The first thing you do is combine eggnog, cream, nutmeg and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. While that mixture is heating, beat together some egg yolks and more sugar until it looks light and fluffy.
Now you mix the two together and here is important step number one – go slowly. Drizzle the hot mixture into the egg yolk mixture while still beating, just on the low setting. The reason for drizzling it slowly is so the egg yolks don’t cook because if that happens you’ll just have eggnog scrambled eggs. Not fun. In the picture you can’t really see the drizzle but just make sure it’s a slow, steady stream.
Now pour the mixture into your serving dishes. I used some simple ceramic dishes for mine (about 5″ x 1″ deep) but you can use regular ramekins too. Important step number 2 – pour hot water into the tray that’s holding your ramekins up to halfway up the sides of the dishes. This gives the custard mixture an even, gentle heat to cook in so the custard set soft and smooth in every part of the dish. I find it best to do this when the tray is already sitting on the oven rack – this way you don’t have to carry a dish full of creme brulees and hot water through the kitchen.
The creme brulees are then baked low and slow until there is just a slight wobble in the centre. Once cooled, you get to brulee the tops. This is done by sprinkling sugar over the top and using a kitchen blowtorch to turn it to toffee. Important step number 3 – use caster / superfine sugar and give them a gentle shake so the sugar is dispersed evenly over the top.
Can I make creme brulee ahead?
Yes, you can make the baked custard portion the day before serving but it is best bruleed right before serving.
Once baked, store the custards in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap. These will only keep for a couple of days so eat up.
That’s it. Once you’ve bruleed the tops, serve them straight away. The toffee will harden up almost immediately and your guest will get to crack through that sweet top into the creamy custard below. Sounds a bit good right? (rhetorical question).
The most difficult part about this eggnog creme brulee is waiting for it to set but in a few hours you’ll be in eggnoggy Christmas dessert heaven. This is almost better made just for you and your closest, and eaten while cuddled up on the sofa with Christmas songs playing in the background.
More festive recipes
- 1 1/2 cups (375ml / 12.6 fl oz) eggnog (whole / full fat - not light)
- 300 ml (10.1 fl oz) thickened (heavy) cream
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 5 egg yolks, from large eggs
- 1/4 cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar, extra (notes)
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- Put the eggnog, cream, nutmeg and half of the sugar in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir every so often so the sugar dissolves and it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- While this is happening whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until light and creamy.
- Very slowly, dribble the hot eggnog mixture into the egg yolks while still whisking. Don’t do this too quickly or the eggs may cuddle from the heat - take your time.
- Once fully mixed, strain the mixture into a pouring jug (this will remove any lumps and any big chunks of nutmeg that may not have ground properly).
- Pour the mixture evenly between the ramekins then place the tray on the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Pour hot water into the tray to about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the centres look just set. It's best to leave the tray with hot water in the oven and very carefully lift out the ramekins. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool for about 1/2 an hour before covering with plastic wrap and placing in the fridge to chill completely (at least an hour).
- When ready to serve, sprinkle the extra sugar evenly over the top of the custards. Give them a gentle shake to disperse the sugar evenly then use a kitchen blowtorch to caramelise the sugar on top.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equivalent to 4 teaspoons worldwide)
- I find it easiest to use a stand mixer so the eggs can be whisking while you’re keeping an eye on the eggnog mixture in the saucepan. It also makes it easier when adding the eggnog mixture to the egg yolks.
- I use 5 inch round x 1 inch deep dishes for this recipe.
- I've tried using a top grill / broiler to caramelise the tops but I find this method heats up the custards too much. It means they don't stay cool and the custard will be runnier than it should be. A good kitchen blowtorch doesn't have to be expensive and it's worth having around for treats like these.
- For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE
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