Crème Brûlée


I got into the habit of making crème brûlée to justify my purchase of a culinary blowtorch. They are relatively inexpensive but you don’t really need one. Sugar can be easily caramelized under a hot grill. Crème brûlée can be made in individual ramekins or in even smaller quantities in shot glasses. Bear in mind that shot glasses cannot be put under a hot grill!

Crème brûlée is usually made with lots of double cream. My rather unorthodox version uses a custard instead, which is both quicker and slightly healthier. This recipe makes four ramekins worth.

500ml milk

2 tbsp cornflour

100g sugar, plus extra for the topping

½ tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp yellow food colouring

  1. Mix the corn flour with 50ml of the milk to form a smooth paste.
  2. Pour the remaining milk and the corn flour paste into a heavy bottomed saucepan along with the sugar, vanilla essence. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring continuously to prevent sticking or burning.
  3. Once thickened, pour into four individual ramekins. Allow to cool before refrigerating.


  1. Top generously with brown sugar and torch or grill until the sugar melts and darkens. I like to get my guests to brûlée their own crème with the blow torch. You can pass it off as some sort of exciting experience but really it’s about getting them to do some of the work.