This is a great take on a classic vanilla bean crème brûlée with the addition of just two simple ingredients – orange zest and orange juice. Remember Orange Creamsicles? This Orange Creamsicle Crème Brûlée has a similar flavor with the orange and vanilla combining in a rich and delicious way for an elevated dessert!
Is Crème Brûlèe a custard?
Short answer, yes. Crème Brûlée has a custard base that is baked and then topped with caramelized, or brûléed, sugar. The classic version is made with vanilla with a very creamy and rich custard, but it is not overly sweet. Check out our Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée recipe if you want to try the classic crème brûlée version.
Crème Brûlée is similar to flan, except flan has a soft caramel top and is generally more firm, while crème brûlée will always have a hard caramelized surface that cracks when you tap it with your spoon. The caramelized surface gives this delicious dessert added texture and flavor. The texture of the custard should be thick, but not firm, similar to Greek yogurt.
Crème Brûlée Flavors
This dessert comes in a variety of flavors, from the classic vanilla to citrus, chocolate, and beyond. There are many options to create an amazing recipe!
For our Orange Creamsicle Crème Brûlee, we used a combination of orange juice, orange zest and vanilla bean to give it that familiar orange creamsicle flavor. The end result is a slightly citrusy orange flavor with beautiful vanilla bean adding to the rich, silky flavor of the custard base.
The type of orange you use will change the flavor slightly, but any version will still be delicious. So use your favorite orange variety! We prefer blood orange or cara-cara orange for this recipe, but navel oranges work great as well!
How to get that perfectly caramelized surface on your Crème Brûlée?
Do you really need a kitchen blow torch? Not necessarily. You can broil your crème brûlées for 2-5 minutes to caramelize the top. Although this method does work, it often results in uneven caramelization, and could also cook your custard more as it broils, which is not desirable.
The best method for even caramelization is a kitchen torch. A kitchen torch is much easier and efficient for an even layer of caramelized sugar without heating through to your custard layer.
What sugar is best for Crème Brûlée?
White granulated sugar works well for crème brûlées, and even better if you can find superfine sugar. Another option is to grind it finer using a spice grinder. You can also experiment with using brown sugar as your topping for a different flavor profile.
Avoid using course sugars. Using this type of sugar may result in a surface that is too thick or areas that are partially caramelized. Of course, you can grind a course sugar slightly to achieve the desired texture.
How long do Crème Brûlées last?
The best part about this dessert is that it can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. This makes it a great dessert for a dinner party or special occasion. Make sure you cover the custard with plastic wrap so that it is not exposed to the air and keep it in the fridge. Once you are ready to serve your crème brûlée, simply remove it from the fridge, top with sugar, brûlée and serve. It is recommended to brûlée right before serving for best results.
We hope that you enjoy this recipe for Orange Creamsicle Crème Brûlée! If you give this recipe a try, click the heart button, leave us a comment and 5-star rating below, or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!
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- Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Bavarian Cream & Raspberry Agrodolce
- Piña Colada Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Rum Sauce
Orange Creamsicle Crème Brûlée
- 32 oz heavy whipping cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Zest of 1 orange (see note)
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- Juice of ½ of an orange
- ¼ cup fine sugar for brûlée top
- Additional orange slices and fresh mint for serving
- Preheat oven to 315°F degrees.
- Split the vanilla bean pod in half lengthwise and scrape the pulp out. Put the bean pod and pulp in a medium saucepan with the cream, salt, and orange zest. Over medium heat, gently bring to a light boil, stirring often. Once gently boiling, remove from heat and let the hot cream rest for 5 minutes.
- While the liquid rests, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and ⅔ cup of sugar until pale yellow and combined.
- Strain the cream mixture using a fine-mesh wire strainer, or fine sieve, and discard the solids (the vanilla bean pod and orange zest). Add the cream to the egg mixture gradually (½ cup at a time) whisking constantly to temper the egg yolk mixture. Add the orange juice and combine thoroughly. Once combined and mixed, pour the mixture into crème brûlée dishes or ramekins about ⅔ to the top.
- Place ramekins / crème brûlée dishes onto a baking sheet or roasting pan (for deeper dishes) and fill the pan with warm water halfway up to the top of your creme brûlée vessels. Place pan with water bath into the oven and bake for 20-45 minutes. This will be a visual cook as every crème brûlée dish is different. The cooking time will depend on the vessels you use - shallow wide dishes (pictured in this post) will not take as long to set as deep ramekins. Either way, your crème brûlée will be done when the center is still jiggly but the sides have just set. Once done, remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Place crème brûlées in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
- At this point, you can put plastic wrap over the crème brûlées and they will last for 5 days in the refrigerator. If serving at this time, remove from the refrigerator and sprinkle about 1-2 tablespoon of superfine sugar (depending on the surface area of your dish) over the top of the custard as evenly as you can so the custard is completely covered. Using a kitchen torch (or propane/butane torch) melt the sugar gently until you achieve a few very dark brown spots and several golden brown colored spots. Ensure all the sugar has melted then let rest a couple of minutes, then top with fruit and serve.
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