Peach Creme Brulees is a super quick and easy dessert recipe that uses just seven simple ingredients and makes great use of juicy summer peaches.
This is one of my favorite recipes to make during the summer peach season.
Peach season is too short I am always left wanting more. I always make sure to freeze some fresh peaches so that I can enjoy my favorite peach desserts all year round.
Looking for more peach recipes? Try these Peach Oatmeal Bars with Almonds.
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Why You Will Love This Recipe
- What's not to love about chilled vanilla custard dotted with fresh peach pieces and topped with warm caramelized sugar.
- Creme brulee might sound fancy but it is actually a great make-ahead dessert that will instantly impress your dinner guests.
When is Peach Season?
Peach season is at its peak in June, July, and August.
How Can You Tell if a Peach is Ripe?
Choose peaches with golden yellow skin and no tinges of green that feel heavy for their size. The stem cavity of a peach should be yellow and not green.
Ripe fruit should yield to gentle pressure and be intensely fragrant. There have been many times I have been walking through the produce section of the grocery store and have stopped to follow my nose to some delicious peaches.
What is the Best Way to Ripen a Peach?
To quickly ripen peaches, place them in a paper bag. Add a ripe banana to speed up the ripening process. Check the peaches every day by holding them in the palm of your hand and giving them a gentle squeeze rather than poking them with your thumb and index finger which could cause bruising. Remove any ripe peaches.
Because there are so few ingredients, now is the time to spring for the best quality ingredients you can afford.
Fresh Peaches: Fresh peaches taste best but you can also substitute thawed frozen peaches or canned peaches. If using fresh peaches peel the skin before using. Learn how to blanch and peel a peach here.
Heavy Whipping Cream: Some recipes use a combination of both heavy whipping cream and milk to make the custard lighter. In my opinion, creme brûlée is meant to be rich so this recipe uses only heavy whipping cream.
If you want to substitute milk for some of the heavy whipping cream I would stick with a 1:1 ratio. Use one cup of heavy whipping cream and one cup of milk.
Egg Yolks: For creme brûlée you want to use just the egg yolks. Egg whites would set too firmly giving the creme brûlée a rubbery texture.
If you have never separated eggs before, check out this post from Sugar Hero where she shares four methods for separating eggs.
Save the egg whites for another recipe. My favorite way to use egg whites is in this Angel Food Cake from Alton Brown.
Vanilla Extract: Use pure vanilla extract not imitation vanilla. It may be a little more expensive but the flavor is so much better.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon pairs beautifully with peaches and vanilla.
Kosher Salt: As always salt is included to enhance the flavor of the other ingredients.
Creme brûlée does require a couple of pieces of specialized equipment.
Fine Mesh Strainer: Straining the custard removes any eggy bits and creates a smooth texture.
Large Measuring Cup: I like to strain my custard into a large measuring cup to make pouring the custard into the ramekins easier. If you are planning to wait to bake your creme brûlée, you can use this large glass measuring cup that comes with a lid for easy storage.
Ramekins: These wide shallow ramekins work best. Deeper ramekins take longer to bake, allowing the edges to be overcooked before the center has set.
The wider ramekins also allow for a higher ratio of crunchy sugar crust to creamy custard.
Cake Pan: Like most cheesecakes creme brûlée is baked in a bain-marie or water bath. Surrounding the creme brûlées with water allows them to cook gently and will help keep them from cracking.
Kitchen Torch: Butane torches have a number of uses in the kitchen. They can char peppers, toast meringue, melt cheese, and brown bread crumbs. The kitchen torches from EurKitchen and Sondiko have consistently rated high in top kitchen torch lists.
A few months ago my brûlée torch died. So I used my boyfriend's propane torch that has a detachable torch head instead. Those were the fastest brûlées I have ever made.
Prepare the oven. Move an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Heat the cream. In a medium-sized saucepan heat the cream over medium-high heat until it begins to simmer. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, and salt together. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, and salt until smooth and the egg yolks start to lighten in color. Adding the cinnamon to the egg mixture is important. Otherwise, it will clump and sink to the bottom of the custard.
Temper the eggs with the cream. When adding the hot cream mixture to the eggs, you need to do so slowly to prevent the eggs from curdling. This is called tempering.
To do this, continuously whisk the yolks while you slowly pour in the warm cream. If the mixture starts to look like scrambled eggs, the hot cream has started to cook the eggs. Unfortunately, you will need to start over.
For more information about tempering eggs and why it is necessary for some recipes, watch this video from Serious Eats.
Strain the custard. I like to strain my custard into a large measuring cup to make pouring the custard into the ramekins easier. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large measuring cup and carefully pour the custard through. Straining the custard removes any eggy bits and creates a smooth texture.
For perfectly smooth custard use a spoon to skim off any foam.
Quick Tip: Immediately rinse the strainer with cold water to remove any egg particles before they become stuck.
Cook the custard. Creme brulee needs to cook slowly and gently. This is why we will use a bain-marie or water bath.
The size of pan you use will depend upon the size of ramekins you have. I have used cake pans, roasting pans, and jelly roll pans. No need to purchase a special pan just use whatever you already own.
Lay a towel across the bottom of the shallow baking dish and place ramekins on top. The towel will keep the ramekins from sliding around.
Divide the peaches between six ramekins.
Pour the custard into the ramekins on top of the peaches. If you want perfectly smooth creme brulee, use a spoon to skim off any bubbles from the top, or don't worry about it any imperfections will be covered by the burnt sugar crust.
Place the pan in the oven and then pour hot water into the pan, careful not to splash water into the ramekins. The water should come about halfway up the ramekins.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the edges are set but the centers are still slightly jiggly. The baking time will vary widely depending upon the size and shape of your ramekins.
Cool the custard. Remove the baking dish from the oven and allow the custards to cool for approximately 15 minutes until you can safely pick up the ramekins and remove them from the water. Allow the custards to cool on a wire rack for an additional 15 minutes until they reach room temperature.
Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and chill them in the refrigerator for at least four hours and up to four days.
Brûlée the sugar topping. Remove the custards from the refrigerator and evenly sprinkle each custard with 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
Ignite your torch and hold the flame about 4 inches from the surface of the custard. Using a circular motion heat the sugar until it browns and forms a crust.
If you want a really thick crust sprinkle a second teaspoon of sugar evenly across each custard and brûlée a second time.
The longer you brulee the sugar, the darker, more caramelized, and bitter it will become. The bitterness contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the custard.
- Try other varieties of fruit like raspberries, strawberries, or mangoes to change the flavor of this creme brulee.
- Be careful to not overheat the cream. Bring it just to a simmer, not necessarily a full boil.
- Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg and sugar mixture while whisking constantly. Adding the cream too quickly will cause the eggs to curdle turning them into scrambled eggs.
- Use a water bath when baking the creme brulees. The water helps to insulate the custard to prevent the outside from cooking too quickly before the centers have had time to set.
- Chill for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator before serving. Creme brulee is meant to be served chilled with a warm topping.
- Serve immediately after caramalizing the sugar. If allowed to sit the sugar topping will become soggy instead of crunchy.
Want More Creme Brulee Recipes?
- Nutella Creme Brulee
- Sweet Corn Creme Brulee
- Blueberry Creme Brulee
- Vanilla Creme Brulee with Fresh Fruit
- Mango Creme Brulee
- Rhubarb Creme Brulee
- Horchata Creme Brulee,
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