New Year’s Eve Creme Brûlée — Dessert for Two

Creme Brulee for Two

I’ve got a lovely little surprise for you today. It’s a Creme Brûlée For Two recipe — part of the mouth-watering Dessert for Two series. And it’s just in time for another mid-pandemic New Year’s Eve, where it’s safest and most compassionate to celebrate at home. Extra bonus: It’s very doable — just 4 ingredients!

The only hard part is patience, because these are best when they’ve cooled for 8 hours or more. So you could make the recipe first thing in the morning on New Year’s Eve, and then let them cool all day. As a last step, you’ll brown the topping just before you serve them that night. Perfect.

Creme Brûlée for two recipe and Champagne for NYE
Creme Brûlée for two recipe. Perfect for New Year's Eve.
whisking sugar and egg yolks for Creme Brûlée for two recipe

One thing I love so much about the Dessert for Two series is that it’s all about experiencing the decadence in the moment, enjoyed with someone else — a friend, a child, a significant other, a parent, or anyone really. And for me, this recipe is about the sheer delight of the sweet custard hidden beneath the hard brûlée-d sugar top. It’s so much fun to crack into it, especially if you’re in good company.

caramelizing sugar for creme brulee with torch
Creme Brûlée for two recipe. Easy! Only 4 Ingredients.

Creme Brûlée can be intimidating, but rest assured it’s actually very easy to make. It only takes four ingredients — egg yolks, sugar, cream, and vanilla. The prep is nothing more than heating cream and adding it to lightly whisked egg yolks and sugar, and adding some vanilla.

Creme Brûlée for two recipe, ready for baking

The custards bake for about an hour at a very low temperature. That ensures that the custards bake evenly and don’t curdle so the texture is luxuriously silky and smooth. That’s it! So simple. My point is: it’s really difficult to mess this recipe up. The hardest part is waiting, waiting, waiting.

caramelizing sugar for creme brulee

There are a few ways ways to brûlée the top. I prefer the simplest method of sprinkling sugar on top and using a torch. I’ve also used my oven broiler. I know most people don’t have a torch available, so a broiler is great alternative — there are directions in the notes below for that method. The third method is to caramelize sugar in a pan and pour a very thin, glasslike layer of the caramel on top of the chilled custards. (But it’s way too much hassle in my opinion.)

decadent creme brulee

Whatever you do, enjoy each spoonful. Lick the dish clean. Rejoice in the deliciousness! And you may want to double this recipe so you have a few extras for the next day. (You’ll want them.)

enjoying creme brulee

Creme Brûlée for Two Recipe

3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 teaspoons (for top)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or the seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped)

ingredients for making creme brulee

1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Have ready two 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups.
2. Place egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in a 2-4 cup glass measuring cup with a spout. Lightly whisk just until combined.

separating eggs for creme brulee
sugar and egg yolks for creme brulee

3. In a small saucepan, heat cream just until boiling. Remove from heat and slowly drizzle a little of the hot cream into the egg and sugar mixture while gently whisking. Add the rest of the cream in a slow, steady stream, plus the vanilla extract (or seeds). Stir just until combined being careful not to aerate the mixture.

adding hot cream to egg yolks and sugar
making creme brulee - adding hot cream to egg yolks and sugar
vanilla seeds from inside bean

4. Divide the custard mixture between the two ramekins. Pouring the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve will help remove any lumps of eggs or bubbles, but isn’t completely necessary.

pouring custard into ramekins

5. Set the ramekins in a glass baking pan, if desired. (This helps in transferring the custards into and out of the oven, but isn’t mandatory either.) Bake for 50-70 minutes or until the custards are set, but slightly wobbly in the center when gently tapped. Shallower ramekins will cook more quickly, closer to the 50 minute mark. And deeper ones will take closer to 70 minutes. Remove and let cool completely. Press plastic wrap (film) against the top of the custards and chill for at least 3-4 hours, preferably 8 hours or overnight.

baked creme brulee

6. For sugar topping – remove chilled custards from the fridge and evenly sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over the top of each custard. Using a culinary torch, caramelize the sugar until deep amber. (Be careful — the tops of the ramekin get super hot!) Serve immediately. To eat, crack the hard top with a spoon and dig in!

Sugar topping for creme brulee
caramelizing sugar for creme brulee
Creme Brûlée for two recipe. Easy! Only 4 Ingredients. NYE

– For a lighter custard, substitute 1/4 cup of the heavy cream for whole milk or use 1/2 cup whipping cream instead of heavy cream.
– To change up the flavor, you can substitute another extract or add liqueur in place of or in addition to the vanilla extract. Two to three teaspoons of liqueur or 1/2 teaspoon extract is perfect.
– To caramelize the topping with a broiler, place the ramekins in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to help keep the top from melting too much. Preheat oven broiler to high. Adjust oven rack so it is about 4-5 inches from the broiler. Place the ramekins on the rack and broil until caramelized. Depending on your oven, it may take as little as 60 seconds or a bit longer. Carefully remove from oven and serve immediately.

Creme Brûlée for two recipe. For NYE!

P.S. — Tiramisu for two.

Credits: Photos and recipe by Lindsey Rose Johnson for Design Mom.

7 thoughts on “New Year’s Eve Creme Brûlée — Dessert for Two”

  1. Looks great, I might try it! We are having homemade cranberry ice cream for dessert tomorrow, after a nice raclette!
    You mentioned tucking the kids into bed… does this mean they don´t stay up with you? For ours New Years eve (or SIlvester, as it is called in Germany) is one of two nights in the year in which the kids are allowed to stay up as long as they like. Our small ones (now 3 and 5) fell asleep by eleven last year, but our older kids (my stepsons, aged 9 and 12) love to stay awake. For them Silvester is more exciting than Christmas or birthdays, due to the “no bedtime policy”. We all embrace the New year together, their mother and aunt will also be here. So to them it is a real family ritual!

  2. Hello! This seems such a nice recipe…
    I will (try to) make it one of the coming weeks…
    I am not familiar withe the measurements however.
    Any chance of giving me an indication for the cream and sugar please?
    Thank you

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