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Lemon Creme Brulee

I had this brilliant idea to serve the lemon creme brulee in a hollowed out lemon. Looks adorable right? Well…don’t try it. It turns out, it’s not a good idea. However, I was smart enough to make this delicious citrusy custard in ramekins as well and that turned out amazing. Next time I make this, and I will make it again, I’ll make it in this tart shell and serve it with this whipped cream.

Don’t be afraid of Creme Brulee. If you’ve never made it, you should try. All home cooks should have a list of five recipes that they want to master. Shoot high. Really. Nothing is off limits and Creme Brulee is a great place to start. It’s a classic recipe, its beautiful, sounds super fancy, and it’s pretty simple.  Creme Brulee tarts are also a great dessert to pull out for guests, guaranteed to evoke major OOOOOHHHH’s.


1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 tbs vanilla extract

2 tsp lemon zest

4 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar, plus another 1/4 cup for the topping

2 tbs lemon juice

Special equipment needed:

Culinary torch. Don’t be affraid of this either. Easy to use and not expensive. Mr. Fits bought me one at Crate and Barrel. But you can also buy them at Target and Amazon. You’ll also needbutane for it.

Most people cook them in ramekins, but you can use any oven safe, small, shallow dish, a tart or pie shell.

Once you have these three things you can make as much Creme Brulee as much as you want! You’re all set.

Preheat the oven to 300.

Put the cream, vanilla and the zest in a sauce pan over medium heat. cook just until its bubbly around the edges but not boiling. Remove from heat, cover and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of sugar and the lemon juice. Whisk until frothy, about 3 minutes.

While continuing to whisk, slowly add the cream mixture until well combined.

At this point, I cut up about 4 lemons to make the cups. Because the custard has to bake in the cups and then sit for 4 hours until set, the dessert leached too much bitterness from the white rind making it borderline inedible. The cups where really beautiful, so if I ever make a dessert that doesn’t need to be baked and can be served immediately (mousse, curd, pudding) I would make them again. I would coat the inside with lemon juice, then with sugar. I’d serve Lemon Mousse in these.

Using a paring knife and a spoon, I cut out the pulp and juiced it.


But, for this recipe DON’T make these. Use a ramekin or a tart shell (just have to reiterate that. It was a waste of perfectly yummy custard)

Put your ramekins in a baking dish, filling the baking dish with about 1 inch of water (if you are using a tart crust or pie shell, skip this).

Pour your custard through a mesh strainer into your designated Creme Brulee vessel.


Cover the baking dish or tart with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool, at room temp, in the water filled baking dish for 30 minutes. Transfer to a plate and allow to chill and set in the fridge for 4 hours. Right before serving, cover the top of your set custard with an even, thin layer of about of sugar (about 1/2-1 tsp). Then run your culinary torch over your sugar, slowly, until it melts and turns an amber color. Don’t touch it. I know, sounds like it should go without saying, but sometimes you get curious and you really WANT to touch it to see if its set or not, and it burns you and you yell profanities and scare your husband.

Another tip: Don’t brulee the sugar until you are ready to serve. After about an hour of just sitting there, the sugar will start to liquify again.

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Chad @ thebreakupnote June 8, 2011 um 7:08 am

Looks brilliant! I love the lemon presentation 😛


Juju June 8, 2011 um 7:22 am

It really does look adorable! And yummy, I must add. I love how you give step by step pics and instructions! You go girl! (;
Let me go subscribe to your blog, and stalk your other posts!! (:



Eva Toneva June 8, 2011 um 7:31 am

Dessert looks perfect, but the idea of skidding in the lemon is great! 🙂


Sarah June 8, 2011 um 8:35 am

Too bad using the lemon shell didn’t work- at least it made for a lovely photo shoot! I love love love creme brulee and the addition of lemon is all kinds of dreamy, can’t wait to try!


Dana Salvo June 8, 2011 um 8:47 am

I absolutely love these!


Chinmayie @ Love Food Eat June 8, 2011 um 11:02 am

I have never made Creme Brulee! You make it sound so simple 🙂 I should try it sometime!


Lindsey@Lindselicious June 8, 2011 um 11:41 am

Aww too bad the lemon shells didnt work out- because they are sooo cute!! Maybe line with chocolate before? LOL that might be too much work.


Jaxie June 8, 2011 um 12:12 pm

Thanks Lindsey, Chocolate would be a great idea for the lemon cups if you serve lemon mousse! Let me know if you eve give it a try!


Kathryn June 8, 2011 um 1:04 pm

That is seriously adorable. What a great idea! Those would make awesome individual desserts for a dinner party!


Tina@flourtrader June 8, 2011 um 1:45 pm

Lemon creme brulee sounds wonderful. I know that the cups did not work out, but in the end it is the taste that matters. I am sure they were delicious.


Tiffany June 8, 2011 um 1:59 pm

I like the way it looks in the cups! What happened? And I love the idea of tart, crisp lemon and rich, creamy creme brulee!


baobabs June 8, 2011 um 7:45 pm

what a great idea and so cute for presentation!! love how the citrus would give it a fresh twist


emily June 9, 2011 um 9:28 pm

amazing….I want to taste it!


Mama’s Gotta Bake June 10, 2011 um 11:50 pm

Creme brulee is my favorite dessert. I’ve never had lemon though. Looks delicious and I do love the presentation in the lemon. Even though it didn’t turn out, it was quite a brilliant idea!


dave ( June 27, 2011 um 7:02 pm

Brilliant presentation even if only for a fantastic photo. I;ve never had lemon creme brulee but I’m sure I would love it, being a lemon tart myself. One of the more delicious CB’s I’ve had was juniper… like gin, it had this wonderful "sophisticated" flavor to it. It wasn’t only tasty, it made me feel like a grown up eating it.

Great photos, thanks for sharing them!


GastroStu August 23, 2011 um 6:00 am

Great twist on a classic dessert and the pics make it all the better. Thanks for posting.


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