Serious Eats: Recipes

French in a Flash (Classic): Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée


[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

To me, crème brûlée is elegant and sophisticated, but made from simplicity. The dessert equivalent of French chic. How can it look so good but be so easy?

Crème brûlée, literally "burnt cream," is four ingredients: eggs, cream, sugar, and vanilla. It takes ten minutes to put the custard together, and then all you have to do is check in on it a couple of times. You can make it ahead—in fact, you should. It is not hard, or expensive, or fussy. And yet, everyone marvels at it. The amber stained glass lid atop each cold, sweet, luscious creamy pot is dainty, strident, and perfect.

It just goes to show again how so much of classic French cuisine is about knowing a few secrets of preparation, not esoteric ingredients or difficult execution. This crème brûlée may be the love of my life.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.

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