Creme Brulee and Thoughts of April in Paris

Creme Brulee with Raspberries

Creme Brulee with Raspberries

In my previous post I wrote about one of Ina Garten’s recipes, Chocolate Orange Mousse,  in her wonderful book,  Barefoot in Paris.   I didn’t give Ina’s recipe my usual rave reviews because it fell short of my expectations from reading the recipe and I was disappointed.  I have to be honest and confess that everybody gobbled it up and thought the dessert was delicious, so I was definitely the minority at the table.  I have gone back to read reviews on the Food Network and found that most people gave the recipe 4 or 5 stars and those who didn’t complained of exactly the things I didn’t care for:  too rich, not enough chocolate flavor and a too thick consistency.  So there you have it.

I have said before that Ina’s cookbooks are the favorites in my collection and if I had to choose just one author’s recipes to rely on it would be hers. I think it is only fair now to give you one of my favorite Ina recipes from Barefoot in Paris.  If there are people out there who don’t like creme brulee I have yet to meet them. It’s such a simple dessert and is the perfect ending to any meal – casual or elegant.   I dropped a few fresh raspberries into each ramekin before baking and they added a lovely tartness to the silky custard.  I made these in the morning, chilled them for a few hours, caramelized the tops about an hour before dinner and put them back in the fridge to chill.  If you don’t add fruit the custards can be made a day or two ahead, but if you do add berries make them the day they are served. The fruit releases water overnight and makes a little puddle in the custard and the tops don’t caramelize because of the moisture.

5.0 from 6 reviews
Ina's Creme Brulee
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 4 extra large egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
  • fresh raspberries, if desired
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks and ½ cup sugar together on low speed until just combined. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it's very hot to the touch, but not boiled.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs. Add the vanilla and Grand Marnier and pour into 6 to 8 ounce ramekins until almost full. I strain the mixture at this point to make sure there are no little bits of cooked egg in it.
  4. Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Add a few fresh raspberries to the custard mixture if desired. Bake for 30-35 minutes ( I cooked mine for 25 minutes), until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.
  5. To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens. I like to put the custards back into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to chill it because the caramelization warms it up a bit and I prefer it nice an cold.
The custards can be made up to 3 days in advance. Caramelize the tops just before serving. If you add raspberries bake the custards the day you want to serve them. By the second day they release their liquid into the custard and make it a little watery and the custard doesn't caramelize well at that point.


Spring flowers are starting to appear here in the Pacific Northwest despite the record rains we have been enduring  (March was the wettest on record).  Daffodils are popping up only to be beaten down by heavy rain and flowering trees are showing their colors, but it doesn’t feel like spring is anywhere close by.  I was talking to a friend about past trips to Paris and the conversation brought back beautiful memories of how glorious the City is in the Spring.   I won’t be going there this month, but have a grand trip planned for next April, 2013, to celebrate my birthday.  It’s a big one and I want it to be full of memories that I will enjoy for many years ahead.  I love the trip planning part, don’t you?  Even though I have been to Paris many times there are always new places to research and plans to make.  We have rented an apartment on rue Cler that has a kitchen so I will be able to buy local ingredients and actually cook them right there IN PARIS!  It makes me light headed just thinking about it…sigh.   I thought you might enjoy a few Parisian streets scenes.  Flowers are everywhere in April and the weather is usually beautiful.

Flowers on Ile St. Louis

April in Paris

Flower Shop on rue Cler

The Gardens at Giverny in April

Flowering Wisteria in Monet’s Gardens at Giverny

April’s White Asparagus in Street Markets in Paris

April’s white asparagus is so wonderful!  When my daughter and I were in Paris the first time a good friend of mine invited us to dinner on her live aboard boat on the Seine.  She prepared a big platter of these mammoth spears that we dipped into bowls of lemon vinaigrette.  We will never forget that awesome evening.  We walked home to our hotel as the sun was setting and saw the twinkling lights on the Eiffel Tower light up the sky.  Unforgettable.

The Dazzling Eiffel Tower at Sunset

Thanks for stopping by to visit.  I hope you will try Ina’s delicious creme brulee and you enjoyed a little glimpse of the streets of Paris.

bon journee


I’m joining Yvonne at StoneGable for this week’s On the Menu Monday.  I hope you will stop by to say hello.


  1. says

    The Creme Brulee looks fantastic! So do the pictures of Paris Cathy. I can almost hear the excitment in your voice as you talk about your trips. Your next one sounds wonderful; how ever can you be patient that long? :)

  2. says

    Your photos of Paris and Giverny are amazing. Paris has been calling my name and this post reminded me why. Enjoy your trip planning and I hope you have a great time in your kitchen. I would be very excited about that as well.

    Ina rocks and your creme brulee is gorgeous. Thanks for the tip about day old creme brulee with fruit in it. I did not know that.
    Heather at Willow Cottage recently posted..Upsy Daisy TablescapeMy Profile

  3. says

    Nothing more perfect than spring in Paris. My daughter lived there for 6 years and I went over every April. Your photos brought back some lovely memories, Cathy.
    I adore a perfectly made Creme Brulee. Haven’t you found many restaurants fake it and use pudding instead of the custard? It makes me so disappointed that I rarely order it out in the US.
    But at home? This is a lovely recipe. The kids gave me one of those torches for Christmas too. :)
    Barbara recently posted..Sophie Dahl’s Elderflower JellyMy Profile

  4. says

    I’ll have to figure out if you can make creme brulee with spenda… I already know…yucky.

    but, am having to cut down. sugar and white flour are the 2 main culprits on my hit list.

    what beautiful gardens….when I dream…i see mine like that.
    then I wake up and scream cause the weed beds are staring back at me

  5. says

    Cathy, I had to stop and make myself a cup of tea before visiting Paris in April with you. Lovely photos! Yes, the planning of a trip is the best part of all. Enjoy all that planning up to your big birthday. But, aren’t all birthdays big??

    This is my most favorite dessert. I almost always order it when it appears on the menu.


  6. says

    Creme Brulée is always a special treat. I’ve never tried Ina’s recipe, but I’m sure your was delicious. Loved all your Parisian fleurs. We are having the most beautiful Spring so far. The sky has been so blue, tryin to enjoy every minute. You’ve chosen a good monthe to celebrate and rue Cler too.
    Talk soon,
    Bonjour Romance recently posted..Belle Is LIVE & a Beautiful Giveaway!My Profile

  7. says

    Ina’s recipe is our go-to for creme brulee. My husband is the creme brulee expert in our family and he is always changing it up a bit. He’s even lightened it replacing some of the heavy cream with half-and-half and whole milk with excellent results. I love yours with the raspberries (probably my favorite fruit) Cathy. Thanks for the tip about doing the top in advance.

    Love your photos of Paris. We hope to go next year as well. What a treat to go to a boat and eat white asparagus with vinaigrette. White asparagus was in season when we were there several years ago and I just fixed it like I would have the green ones. I LOVE the idea of dipping in the vinaigrette.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Sea Scallops with Mint & Pea Puree – Fit for a QueenMy Profile

  8. says

    Oh my Cathy….this entire post is just chock full of enticements! I watched the Pioneer Woman make creme brulee a few days ago & she didn’t have any Grand Marnier nor raspberries in her recipe. I’m sure I would prefer yours! Thanks for the tips of when to do what to make it come out perfect.

    I’ve never been to France, but its on my bucket list!! I am SOOOO glad you’re getting to return to celebrate your special 30th birthday! *wink*

    Rettabug recently posted..Chicken Spaghetti CasseroleMy Profile

  9. says

    You make me want to hop on a plane for Paris – such a beautiful city and your photos capture it well. The creme brulee with raspberries is a favorite of mine that they make in a tart form at Le Mariage Freres in the Marais. Next time you go, stop in there and order it. I blogged about it too a few months ago.
    CiaochowLinda recently posted..Field of GreensMy Profile

  10. says

    I love creme brulee. What a great idea to add some fresh fruit! Love it! I’m on board with you about Ina. Her recipes are user-friendly, and she only uses “good” ingredients (ha!). I’m not the biggest fan of mousse, but maybe I just haven’t stumbled across the best recipe. Paris is on my wish list. Every time I see you, or Stacey Snacks or Ciao Ciao Linda posting photos of Paris, I turn a little green. I have to go to Bavaria, first. I promised my mother that I’d bring her ashes back to her homeland. As soon as we do that, then I hope to make a side trip to Paris. I’m afraid I’d gain one size up, but I think it’d be worth it. We’ve had weird weather here, too. Some days it’s beautiful and sunny, albeit breezy. Then, the sky opens up and it pours. Very unpredictable, indeed.
    Foodiewife recently posted..Spring and Easter Recipe Round UpMy Profile

  11. says

    Wow…first, the creme brulee sounds delightful. Ina would probably be my choice, too if I had to pick one cookbook to refer to. Your pictures of Paris in spring are just dreamy. The picture of the Wisteria actually looks like a Monet! My husband and I always taking a year to live in Paris with our kids.. Your trip next month sounds wonderful…can’t wait to hear all about it.
    Becki’s Whole Life recently posted..My Favorite Lemon BarsMy Profile

  12. says

    Love creme brulee, so I am sure I would love this. What wonderful photos and memories of April in Paris. It is an enchanting time to visit and I am so happy I have had that experience. Oh to go again.
    Marilyn recently posted..PassionMy Profile

  13. Aimee says

    What an amazing trip to look forward to! Paris looks like a beautiful place–I LOVE your photos of it and Giverny; makes it seem as if I am there, surrounded by the flowers of spring and the warmth of the sun! I will have to hold onto that last part until we get our spring this weekend:)
    Ah, creme brulee—sounds perfect!
    Blessings, Aimee

  14. says

    Hello Cathy,
    I just bought some dishes to prepare a plain version of this. This sounds delicious to me. Love those pictures of Paris. I would love to go there.
    Happy Easter !
    Pat recently posted..Hat CookiesMy Profile

  15. says

    What a fantastic post Cathy; you really made me feel like I was there with you. Your photos are perfection and that creme brulé is speaking to me. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  16. says

    I know there are such a few bloopers when it comes to Ina’s recipes and it’s nice that you’ve come back with a real winner. I LOVE creme brulee and have likely made this one myself at one time.

    How wonderful to have another trip to Paris scheduled! I’m sure you’ll be looking forward to another April in Paris!
    Susan recently posted..Rosemary Herb BreadMy Profile

  17. says

    I rely on Ina’s collection too.

    My two favorite cities in the world (so far) is New York and Paris. I would be lightheaded too, if I was renting in a local Paris neighborhood, and was able purchase ingredients from the local market to prepare in my Paris apartment-oh yes! I know you will share the experience with us.

    velva recently posted..Polish Pierogies-Discovering Culture through FoodMy Profile

  18. says

    Well, now I know I will have to get to the store to get the ingredients for this recipe. Because my friends are coming over this weekend so I have to make this recipe for them. Thanks soo much for this recipe! :-)

  19. says

    Hi Cathy, your creme brûlée looks wonderful and I love the addition of raspberries. I have always made Tyler Florence’s version, but I’ll have to give Ina’s a try. I have never been to Paris, but your photos definitely want me to. Happy trip planning!
    Kitty recently posted..Speedy Meringue FrostingMy Profile

  20. says

    Cathy, I love creme brulee, only have eaten it in restaurants, never attempted it yet I have the dishes. Love the photos of Paris, I enjoyed my virtual trip. I could practically smell those flowers. xo
    Barbara F. recently posted..A Little FiestaMy Profile

  21. Debbie@Mountain Breaths says

    Thanks for sharing the creme brulee recipe. Tried and tested works for me! I’m planning a trip to Paris for 2014 for our anniversary, and my eyes lit up when you said you are renting in a local Paris neighborhood. To be able to prepare meals in a Paris apartment, for your special birthday week, sounds wonderful. I’m looking forward to you sharing the experience with us!

  22. says

    What a great post and what a fantastic adventure awaiting you next April! I find one of the best part of a trip is the preparation and the anticipation. Your pictures make me feel like I am there.
    Nice to hear the nice weather is finally heading your way; I think it is emerging here also, but we don’t have flowers yet.

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