Silky smooth custard. A crispy, sugary shell that breaks with a gentle thwack of your spoon. Black Sesame Creme Brulee is so good (and easy), you’ll be wondering why you never made it before.
I’ve always been rather fond of creme brulee. But for a long time, I never bothered to make it at home. That’s because of Mari.
Everyone needs a Mari in their life. She’s the kind of friend that makes life better. When the vacuum breaks down, she brings hers over — without asking. She knows where the dishes go in the cabinets. She knows what your kids like and dislike. And every time you meet, there’s endless talking and laughing and sometimes tears (good ones, that is).
Mari is the kind of friend who brings individual ramekins of creme brulee for dessert (with lots of extras) because you don’t like sweet things that much but she remembered you saying once how much you loved it. Yeah, everyone needs a friend like Mari.
For years, Mari’s made creme brulee for me. So I never bothered to learn to make it myself.
Recently, I asked her to teach me. She came over and we spent two days cooking, eating, and laughing. Then she gifted me a torch. (That pretty much sums up everything about Mari. 😉 )
For this recipe, we added black sesame seed powder. The classic tastes good, too. But if you want to add a subtle, Asian flavor twist, this is an easy way to do it. It’s really, really good.
There are a million reasons to love Black Sesame Creme Brulee: Indulgently rich. Sweet but not overly so. A crackling, sugary crust. Nutty, fragrant black sesame seeds. An individual ramekin that’s all your own.
Mari, who is a pastry chef, says that egg yolks are measured by volume in an industrial, professional kitchen. That’s because egg yolks vary in size; some are big, some are small.
To make this recipe easy-to-make at home, I measured the egg yolks by number. But you need to consider the size of your egg yolks!
My recipe calls for 10 organic egg yolks.
Organic egg yolks are small and round. Conventional egg yolks, by comparison, are large and flat.
If you don’t use organic egg yolks, I recommend some modifications. See recipe below.
Black Sesame Seed Powder:
For this recipe, I toasted and ground black sesame seeds by hand. Then I compared to a bag of black sesame seed powder, bought from the Asian grocery store. And you know what? I couldn’t tell the difference. The powder was more fragrant, actually.
Well, that makes this recipe easier!
Buy a bag from the Asian grocery store and store in the fridge. It will last a long time that way.
How to Make Black Sesame Creme Brulee:
Get ready: preheat oven to 300F/150C. Heat tea kettle with at least 1L water. Arrange ramekins into large roasting/baking pan.
Whisk egg yolks and black sesame paste into a thick paste.
Heat heavy cream and sugar until steaming.
Whisking constantly, add heavy cream to the egg yolk mixture. Make sure to add in a slow and steady stream.
Transfer to a measuring cup for easier pouring. Divide evenly among ramekins. Slide into the oven and fill the roasting/baking pan with 1-inch boiling water from the tea kettle (this is a water bath).
Bake until mostly set with a jiggly center when you (gently) shake the pan, about 35-40 minutes. Chill for 2 hrs or overnight in the fridge.
When it’s time to serve, add sugar to each ramekin. Gently shake and swirl sugar so the top is evenly coated with sugar granules. Using a kitchen torch, melt sugar until bubbly and caramelized. Eat immediately!
Black Sesame Creme Brulee
- 6 ramekins
- kitchen torch (to brulee sugar)
- 10 Large-sized organic egg yolks
- 1/4 cup black sesame powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp sugar for each ramekin (for bruleed sugar topping)
- Preheat oven to 300F/150C. Heat tea kettle filled with at least 1 L water. Arrange ramekins into large roasting and/or baking pan.
- Whisk egg yolks and black sesame powder into a thick paste.
- Heat heavy cream and sugar until steaming and sugar dissolves.
- Whisking constantly, add heavy cream to the egg yolk mixture. Make sure to add in a slow and steady stream.
- Transfer to a measuring cup for easier pouring (at least 2 cup container; liquid should measure 2 1/4 cups). Divide evenly among ramekins. Slide into the oven and fill the roasting/baking pan with 1-inch boiling hot water from the tea kettle, being careful not to splash water into the ramekins. Bake until creme brulee is mostly set with a jiggly center when you (gently) shake the pan, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from roasting pan and chill for 2 hrs or overnight in the fridge.
- When it's time to serve, add 1/2 tsp sugar to each ramekin. Gently shake and swirl sugar so that the top is evenly coated with sugar granules. Using a kitchen torch, melt sugar until bubbly and caramelized. Wait 5 minutes for sugar to set into crispy shell. Eat immediately.