Sometimes you want to get fancy at home, and we don’t blame you. What if we told you that our Brugal crème brûlée is not only beautifully executed but very simple to put together. Our version is inspired by the flavors of the Caribbean. We adjust our ratios for a creamier custard and add vanilla, orange zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Moreover, we top the dark brown sugar brûlée with Brugal rum. Its spicy warmth compliments every bite!
I came to learn of Brugal rum from my husband and his family that live in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Not only did this decision serve as a special tribute to my new family, but the choice of the rum was also effortless because it is smooth, sweet, and shines with notes of toast, caramel, and coffee. Although we chose a Brugal Leyenda for this recipe, any aged rum with some sweetness will work well.
What’s more, crème brûlée is very approachable for all cooking levels and only requires a few ingredients. With some essential tips, you will be cooking up this French custard dessert with ease, over and over, that is sure to wow your guests!
Note that you can make these desserts ahead of time by refrigerating the ramekins filled with custard and only torching the sugar and lighting the Brugal rum right before serving.
Equipment Needed for Crème Brûlée
- Kitchen Torch
Ratios: How to Create a Creamier Crème Brûlée
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
How to Temper the Eggs
To temper the eggs, warm the heavy cream on the stovetop. When the heavy cream is warm, add 1/2 cup of the warm heavy cream to the mixing bowl of whisked egg yolks and sugar to “temper” the eggs, which means raising the temperature of the eggs. Add the remaining warm liquid slowly to the eggs. This technique prevents the eggs from scrambling, cooking, or curdling.
How to Prepare a Waterbath
To prepare a water bath:
- Use an oven-proof casserole dish that is at least 10 inches deep.
- Evenly distribute the ramekins in the casserole dish.
- Fill the casserole dish with water until the water covers half of the exterior of each ramekin.
When is the Custard Done Baking?
The size of the ramekins will impact the cooking time. Our recipe is based on ramekins that measure 7.50 inches long, 7 inches wide, and 6.25 inches high. For this size ramekin, the custard is done baking in precisely 30 minutes. It should be just set or jiggle slightly in the center.
If you have deeper ramekins, the cooking time may increase by 10-15 minutes. The custard is done when the custard is just set or jiggles slightly in the center.
How to Torch the Top for the Crème Brûlée
After you have sprinkled a thin layer of dark brown sugar on the top of the set custard, take a kitchen torch and run the flame over all the sugar crystals, approximately 4-6 inches away, to allow them to bubble and caramelize, forming a lovely brown crust.
After each grain of sugar is melted, allow the sugar to harden for 1-2 minutes. In 1-2 minutes, you will be left with a perfect hard sugary crust that you can easily break. We use only a thin layer of dark brown sugar for the crust because the flavors of the dark brown sugar are pronounced.
Still unsure of how to achieve this? Check out our video below or this video demonstration.
What is Brugal Rum?
Don Andrés Brugal Montaner is the man who made it all happen. Originally from Catalonia, Spain, Brugal moved to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. He utilized his rum-making skills acquired from Cuba and founded Brugal & Co.
They quickly became a force in the rum market, introducing dark rum, aging rum in oak barrels, and even experimenting with steel barrels for lower grade varieties. One hundred thirty years later, the Brugal family continues to craft some of the world’s most elite rum varieties.
Cover the ramekins, filled with custard, with plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Do not torch the sugar or light the Brugal rum on fire until you are ready to serve them.
Purge Your Fridge
You just finished gobbling up our Brugal Rum Crème Brûlée, and you are left with the following ingredients:
- Heavy cream
- Vanilla bean pods
Here are some tasty options for ridding your fridge of the leftover ingredients:
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean pod
- 1/2 cup Brugal rum 1 tbsp per ramekin
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 1 tbsp dark brown sugar for crystalized crust
- 1 tsp orange zest Navel orange is best
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp salt
1. Preheat Oven and Prepare Ingredients
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius).
- Remove eggs from the refrigerator and allow to warm to room temperature.
- Cut open vanilla bean pod with a paring knife and remove the paste. Set aside.
- Zest orange. Set aside.
2. Whisk Egg Yolks with Sugar
- Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl.
- Place a saucepan on the stovetop at medium heat.
3. Warm Heavy Cream and Spices on the Stovetop
- Add heavy cream, vanilla bean paste, vanilla bean pod, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest to a saucepan.
- Warm heavy cream, and then turn off the heat on the stovetop.
4. Combine Heavy Cream and Spices with Egg Yolks and Sugar
- Remove the vanilla bean pod from the saucepan.
- Give the heavy cream mixture a quick whisk to ensure that the spices are well distributed and not clumped together.
- Temper the eggs by adding ½ cup of the warm heavy cream mixture to the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk.
- Slowly add the remaining warm heavy cream mixture to the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk well.
5. Pour into Ramekins and Prepare Water Bath
- Pour into ramekins. Do not fill to the top. Leave room for the crystalized sugar crust and Brugal rum.
- Place ramekins into a shallow pan.
- Pour boiling water into the base of the shallow pan to create a water bath so that the ramekins are half-submerged in the water.
6. Cook for 30 minutes
- Place shallow pan into the oven for 30 minutes.
- The custard should be nearly set but jiggle slightly in the center.
7. Allow to Cool and Refrigerate
- Remove the pan from the oven, place ramekins on a cooling rack, or cool for 1 hour.
- Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and put them into the refrigerator for 3 hours.
8. Sugar the Top and Torch it to Create Crystalized Crust
- Remove ramekins from the refrigerator and remove plastic wrap.
- Sprinkle a thin layer of dark brown sugar on the top of each ramekin.
- Run the lighted torch over the top of each ramekin until the sugar becomes liquid. The sugar will crystalize after it cools.
9. Finish with the Brugal Rum
- Pour Brugal rum on the crystalized sugar crust and light the alcohol on fire using either the torch or a lighter.
- Serve and enjoy.