This Breakfast Crème Brûlée is a lighter take on the classic dessert, and is a creamy, 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 whispers “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.
Making Breakfast Crème Brûlée
Crème brûlée is basically a custard with burnt sugar on top. The custard part- that’s simple! The only “special” equipment needs are a few ramekins (or whatever small oven safe dishes you want to use).
For the sugary top, you’d typically use a kitchen torch and set the sugar ON FIRE! (You’re allowed to laugh maniacally while you do this part.) However, I realize not everyone owns a torch. Personally, I do own a torch, and I love using it on these custards.
If, however, you don’t own a torch– or aren’t convinced you’ll be awake enough to control a fire-spewing torch at breakfast-time– you have another option. Instead, of using a torch, simply turn on your oven broiler, with the top rack as close to the broiler as possible, and let the sugar cook for about 5 minutes. Before you know it, you’ll have a crisp layer of hardened sugar.*
Make this the night before– cooking the custard takes about 35 minutes–and refrigerate when the ramekins have cooled to room temperature. Then when you wake up, sprinkle sugar on top and broil or torch it. This Breakfast Crème brûlée is perfect for either breakfast, brunch, or even a light dessert. Top with berries and enjoy!
*A Note on Torches vs. Broilers: If you decide you love, love, love crème brûlée, keep in mind that a torch is MUCH faster than a broiler. Also, the hardened top seems to be a little prettier with a torch than when I use the broiler.
Breakfast Crème Brûlée
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups milk OR coconut milk (use canned coconut milk, not refrigerated carton coconut milk) (I like Trader Joe's canned Light Coconut Milk)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lemon (or orange)
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
- 1 TB sugar
- Toppings: berries, if desired
Preheat oven to 300ºF. Begin boiling water in a tea kettle (or in a small pot).
Whisk egg yolks until they lighten in color. Add milk, vanilla, zest, and coconut (optional), and whisk to incorporate.
Divide batter into 4 small ramekins. Skim off bubbles.
Set ramekins into a large baking dish (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 30-40 minutes, until the edges are cooked and the center is still soft. (Note: 2% milk tends to cook more quickly than coconut milk-- cook time will depend on ingredients used.)
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Before serving: Use a kitchen torch to burn the sugar.
Alternatively, turn on oven broiler and move the top oven rack as high as it will go. Dust tops of custard with sugar, and set under broiler until the sugar begins to brown (about 5 minutes- watch them while broiling).
Top with berries if desired.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal, assumes 2% milk was used, and does not include optional berries.