This strawberry crème brûlée is delicious twist on an old French classic. It is so easy to do, with just 5 simple ingredients .
All you need is cream, vanilla, eggs and sugar, to make a simple baked custard with a deliciously crisp and crunchy topping.
In my opinion, there's something deeply satisfying about cracking the brûlée topping and sinking a spoon into the creamy centre. It's total heaven.
Perfect for a make ahead dessert at any time of year, for the family, or entertaining friends.
French crème brûlée has so many other names and is a classic dessert in many European countries.
It's often called burned cream, burnt cream, trinity cream or Cambridge burnt cream in the British Isles, and is known as creme Catalan in Spain, although milk is used instead of cream.
I always thought that this dessert would be difficult to make, but it is actually very easy. The oven does most of the work then, it can sit in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
This strawberry version will be such a surprise for your guests when they dip a spoon into the custard. The strawberries become soft and give a burst of flavour in the creamy custard. Totally delicious!
❤️ Why you will love this dish
- 4, simple, easy to find ingredients.
- Great for making ahead.
- Easy to customise.
- Individual portions for easy serving.
- Totally creamy and delicious.
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- Eggs - yolks from large free range eggs.
- Sugar - caster or fine sugar for the baked custard and granulated for the topping.
- Cream - heavy or double cream.
- Vanilla - use quality vanilla extract or paste.
- Strawberries - any shape or size as they will be cut into pieces. Save a few extra nice ones for a garnish.
The printable recipe card with full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found at the bottom of the article.
- large bowl
- medium saucepan
- 6 ramekins or 8 shallow dishes
- 2 deep oven trays
- measuring jug - optional
- sharp knife
- cutting board
- blow torch - optional
💭 Top tips for separating eggs
- Refrigerate the eggs for 30 minutes before separating them as this makes the yolk firmer and less likely to break.
- Separate the eggs and use 2 ramekins to do one at a time then transfer to the mixing bowl or another bowl. This means that if you do have a bad egg it won't contaminate the eggs you have already separated.
Wash and hull the strawberries and dry them on kitchen paper.
Cut into pieces about 1 centimetre or half an inch.
Place the ramekins in a large oven tray and divide the strawberries between them.
Put the egg yolks and granulated sugar into a large bowl.
Whisk together for 2 minutes until pale and creamy.
Put the cream in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer.
Turn off the heat and leave for a minute.
Whisk in a tablespoon of the hot cream into the eggs.
This is known as tempering and means that the eggs are warmed slightly before adding the rest of the hot cream.
If the hot cream is added all in one go, the mixture is liable to start cooking the eggs and scrambled eggs will form.
Now, add the remaining cream slowly, whisking all the time.
At this point, I like to pour the custard into a large jug. This makes it easier to divide the mixture between the ramekins accurately and without mess.
Divide the mixture between the ramekins.
⏲️ Baking Time
Preheat the oven to 150 C / 300 F / 130 FAN / Gas 2.
Place the dish in the oven and use hot tap or kettle water to pour in enough water to come halfway up the sides.
It's easier to do this when the tray is in the oven, rather than balancing the liquid in the ramekins and the water in the dish.
💭 Top tip
- The hot water bath helps the custard to cook evenly without cracking. This technigque is often used in recipes such as bread and butter pudding.
Bake for an hour.
The custard should still have a slight wobble, but will firm up when it cools.
Remove the ramekins from the water carefully and leave to cool.
Refrigerate for an hour to set.
For the topping, spread a layer of sugar over the baked custard.
Use a blow torch to caramelise the sugar. Alternatively, place under a very hot grill, watching constantly.
The topping will harden in a few minutes, but it's best to put the desserts in the fridge for a few minutes before serving.
Be careful. The ramekins can be quite hot!
Take a spoon and dip in.
🥗 Side Dishes
Serve with your favorite biscuits or try these ideas:
- clotted cream
- crème fraîche
- fresh strawberries
- Shrewbury Biscuits
- Sablé Biscuits
- Viennese Fingers
- Chocolate Shortbread
- Sugar - use superfine sugar for the custard topping if you prefer.
- Cream - use half milk and half cream instead.
- Classic Crème Brûlée - vanilla flavour. Simple omit the strawberries.
- Coffee Crème Brûlée - espresso powder gives this dessert a rich taste.
- Baileys Crème Brûlée - a cheeky hint of Irish cream makes this dessert perfect for dinner parties.
- Lavender Crème Brûlée - delicately perfumed with real lavender flowers.
- Refrigerator - cover and refrigerate before adding the brûlée sugar topping for 3 days. You can brûlée the top up to 2 hours before you want to eat it but it can lose its crispness if it's left any longer.
- Freezer - wrap each dish in clingfilm and freeze without the topping for up to a month. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
🍱 Prepare in Advance
- Make the custards up to 3 days in advance and cover with cling film in the fridge.
Meringue based desserts are the obvious choice, so try making a no bake lemon meringue cheesecake, Nutella meringues, Eton mess, Financiers or macarons.
These all have step by step instructions for foolproof meringues.
In so many recipes you can end up with leftover egg whites. If you are notready to make another dish with them then they can be safely frozen for up to a year.
The easiest way of doing this is to pour the liquid egg white into ice cube trays and then transfer them to a bag with the date on when they are solid.
Bring them to room temperature before using in recipes.
More creamy desserts
Strawberry Crème Brûlée
- Large bowl
- medium saucepan
- 6 ramekins or 8 shallow dishes
- large deep oven tray
- measuring jug – optional
- blow torch - optional
- sharp knifechopping board
- 125 g strawberries
- 600 ml double cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 50 g caster sugar
- 50 g granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 150 C / 300 F / 130 FAN / Gas 2.
- Wash and hull the strawberries and dry them on kitchen paper.Cut into pieces about 1 centimetre or half an inch.
- Place the ramekins in a large oven tray and divide the strawberries between them.
- Put the egg yolks vanilla and granulated sugar into a large bowl and whisk together for 2 minutes until pale and creamy.
- Place the cream in a saucepan over a low to medium heat. Bring to simmer then remove from the heat and cool for a minute
- Whisk a very small amount of cream into the egg yolks, then gradually pour in the rest, whisking all the time.
- Fill the ramekins with the mixture and place in a deep sided roasting tray.
- Pour in hot water from a kettle so that it comes halfway up the sides.
- Bake ramekins for an hour or until the custard is just set.
- Remove from the water bath, leave to cool then refrigerate for an hour.
- For the topping, spread a layer of sugar over the baked custard.
- Use a blow torch to caramelise the sugar. Alternatively, place under a very hot grill, watching constantly.
- The topping will harden in a few minutes, but it's best to put the desserts in the fridge for a few minutes before serving
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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