tuxedo creme brulees

Tuxedo Crème Brûlée

Crème brûlée is what spurred my love of cooking and my love of experimenting with food. It is one of the first things my Uncle taught me to make. I traveled to Belgium with my family when I was about 10 (and a very picky eater) and had crème brûlée for almost every meal. It was either that or Belgian waffles. I am not quite sure what my parents were thinking letting me do that, I was probably consistently on a sugar high.

This variation on classic crème brûlée is based on the dessert at Geoffrey’s in Malibu. Geoffrey’s is an upscale coastal restaurant with one of the best views overlooking the ocean and has been shown on multiple TV shows including Modern Family and Keeping up with the Kardashians (don’t ask me how I know that). The crème brûlée has a layer of chocolate ganache on the bottom and then a layer of vanilla custard followed by caramelized sugar. Don’t discard the vanilla bean after use, let them dry then add them to your granulated sugar; it infuses the sugar with a great smell and flavor!



For the chocolate ganache:

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

1½ cups heavy cream

¼ teaspoon kosher salt


For the crème brûlée:

3 cups heavy cream

2 whole vanilla beans, sliced lengthwise

2 whole eggs

10 egg yolks

1 ½ cups granulated sugar, divided  

¼ teaspoon salt



For the chocolate ganache:

Coarsely chop the chocolate. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the cream and bring to just a boil. Add the chocolate and salt and whisk to combine until the chocolate has melted and the mixture becomes smooth and shiny.

Divide the chocolate ganache among the ramekins so they are filled ¼ of the way full. Place the ramekins in the freezer and freeze for one hour.


For the crème brûlée:

Preheat the oven to 300°.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring heavy cream and vanilla beans to a simmer. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, 1¼ cups sugar and salt together until well blended. Slowly whisk the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture and remove the vanilla beans.

Remove the ramekins from the freezer then divide mixture evenly, filling each ramekin so that it is ¾ of the way full. Set the ramekins in a baking dish and pour boiling water so that it’s halfway up ramekins. Carefully place the baking pan in the oven, making sure that the water doesn’t spill into the ramekins.

Bake until the custard is set, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove each ramekin from the pan, and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 1 hour.


To serve: sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar over each ramekin of custard. Using a small kitchen blowtorch, slowly torch sugar from about 6” above the custard until it melts and caramelizes. If you hold the torch too close to the sugar it will caramelize too fast and burn. Serve immediately.


Makes 8 (8-ounce ramekins) of crème brûlée.

creme brulee
creme brulee with chocolate ganache


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