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Lemon Creme Brûlée

Prep Time:

10 minutes

Cook Time:

32-42 minutes






  • Zest of 1 Large Lemon

  • 100 grams (½ Cup) + 2 Tablespoons Granulated/ Caster Sugar

  • 20oz (2.5 Cups) Heavy Whipping Cream

  • 6 Large Egg Yolks, at room temperature

  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste

  • ¼ Teaspoon Pure Lemon Extract

  • 7 ½ Tablespoons Granulated Sugar (1 ½ Tablespoons per creme brulee)


This recipe is quite simple, only a few things are needed:

  • Large Lemon. We are just going to use the zest from the lemon. The lemon juice can be too acidic and curdle the cream, like buttermilk.

  • Granulated Sugar. The sugar is used to sweeten the cream as well as

  • Heavy Whipping Cream. Make sure you use heavy whipping cream, this has a higher fat content than regular whipping cream.

  • Large Egg Yolks. Make sure when you separate the egg whites from the yolk there is no white left with the yolks.

  • Vanilla Bean Paste. You can use a whole vanilla bean or vanilla extract.

  • Pure Lemon Extract. Although the lemon zest gives an intense lemon flavor the little bit of lemon oil helps really ensure the strong lemon flavor.

  • Kitchen Torch. Although not an ingredient, this tool is key to burning the sugar on top. You can use an oven's broiling feature but you have to be very careful with timing not to burn too much.


Preheat the oven to 325F and get a large roasting pan and 6 ramekins out and ready to use.

In a large saucepan add two tablespoons of sugar and the lemon zest then using your clean hands rub the lemon zest into the sugar for two minutes, this helps release all of the lemon oils from the zest.

Add the heavy cream and cook over medium heat until just before the boiling point. Turn off the heat and place the lid on to steam for ten minutes. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a large bowl with a handheld mixer whisk egg yolks and sugar. Beat on high until they start to turn a paler yellow color.

Then, slowly add the hot cream mixture in small increments continually stirring. Doing this slowly tempers the eggs, preventing them from scrambling.

Then stir in the vanilla bean paste and lemon extract.

Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl preferably one with a pouring spout and strain the custard mixture. This will remove the lemon zest and any egg that was scrambled.

Pour the lemon cream evenly into the ramekins.

Place ramekins in a large roasting pan and then fill the baking pan with hot water until about halfway up the ramekins. I find it easiest to use boiling water from the kettle.

Bake for 32-42 minutes, you want the center of the creme brulee to be set but have a little bit of jiggle, if you want to use an instant-read thermometer the internal temperature should be 170F/77C. Take out of the oven and place the roasting pan on a wire rack. After five minutes remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and let cool for 1 hour on a wire rack. Place in the refrigerator covered in a container or with plastic wrap for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

If you want to make a lemon twist, slice a whole piece of lemon then remove the insides and extra white pith from the peel then just use your fingers to twist the lemon up, the lemon peel should naturally hold its shape

Right before serving sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the sugar on top of each creme brûlée and using a kitchen torch burn the sugar.

Add fresh berries and lemon twist if you want. 

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