This Breakfast Crème Brûlée is a decadent, custardy solution to all your breakfast needs and wants.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying to yourself, “Crème brûlée … is not a breakfast food..” Well that may technically be true, but should it be?! It’s made from eggs (breakfast food) and milk (breakfast food). Crème brûlée just screams breakfast. Or maybe it screams “le petit dejeuner” because, you know.. it’s French. At any rate, it’s delicious, and should be eaten at every possible opportunity. Plus, there are few things in life as nice as cracking a spoon through the hard, hot shell of burnt sugar and scooping up cool, creamy custard.
That said, there is, of course, a reason why crème brûlée is a dessert. Typically the “milk” is heavy whipping cream, and there’s sugar in both the custard and on top. For this breakfast version, I’ve switched out the whipping cream for milk, and left out the sugar inside the custard (now the sugar is just on top). It’s still sweet from the sugar crust on top, and the custard is a little lighter than regular crème brûlée. It’s still delicious, and is lighter and healthier than its dessert counterpart.
Crème brûlée is basically a custard with burnt sugar on top. The custard part- that’s simple! The only “special” equipment needed are ramekins (or whatever small oven safe dishes you want to use). For the sugar, typically you’d use a kitchen torch to burn it. I realize not everyone owns a torch. Personally, I do own a torch, and when I make this for dessert, I use it. When I make it for breakfast, however, I’m not always convinced I’m awake enough to control a fire-spewing torch. Fire and sleepiness- I’ll pass. Instead, I just turn on my oven broiler, and let the sugar cook for about 5 minutes. It works.
Make this the night before- cooking the custard takes about 45 minutes- and then when you wake up, sprinkle sugar on top and broil, or torch it. It would work perfectly for either breakfast, brunch, or even a light dessert. Top with berries and enjoy!
A note about the milk: My favorite version of this breakfast custard is when I use canned Light Coconut Milk from Trader Joe’s instead of cow milk (it’s slightly sweeter than cow milk). If you swap out your milk for coconut milk- I’d stick with the canned coconut milk over the refrigerated cartoned kind because it’s thicker.
Looking for other indulgent breakfast treats? Check these out:
Breakfast Crème Brûlée
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup milk OR coconut milk (use canned coconut milk, not refrigerated carton coconut milk)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lemon (or orange)
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
- Topping: sugar, berries or bananas (optional)
Preheat oven to 300ºF. Begin boiling water in a tea kettle (or in a small pot).
Whisk egg yolks, then add milk, vanilla, zest, and coconut (optional). Divide batter into 4 small ramekins. Skim off bubbles.
Set ramekins into a large baking disk (I use a lasagna pan), and pour hot water around ramekins into the baking dish. The water should come about halfway up the ramekins.
Bake 40-45 minutes (the edges should be solid and the center still soft).
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Before serving: Turn on oven broiler. Dust tops of custard with sugar, and set under broiler until the sugar begins to brown (about 5 minutes- watch them while broiling). Alternatively, use a kitchen torch to burn the sugar.