Irish Cream Creme Brulee is a creamy, elegant dessert option for Saint Patrick’s Day or any time you’d like to enjoy an Irish cream liquor dessert.
There are few sounds more satisfying than the crack of a spoon breaking through the burnt sugar crust on a creme brulee dessert, are there? Creme brulee – literally translating to “burnt cream” – is a dessert that is definitely more delicious than its name implies. If you’re here though, you already know that.
I’m so excited to be sharing this creamy Irish cream version with you today. The custard is creamy, not too sweet, and has incredible flavor!
How to make Irish Cream creme brulee
Making creme brulee takes a little time, but much of it is inactive. Thankfully, it’s also an ideal dessert to make a day or two in advance of serving, so you don’t have to fuss about it when you’re ready to eat!
You’ll start by making the custard using egg yolks, cream, sugar, and of course, Irish cream liquor. All of this is cooked in a saucepan until you reach a pudding consistency, then strained and poured into serving ramekins to cool and chill.
Once your custard is set and cold, top with a little sugar, torch, and enjoy!
Ingredients and substitutions
The ingredients for this recipe are rather simple and you may have everything on hand already! I remember being so surprised at the ingredient list.
Only seeing creme brulee on the dessert list at nicer restaurants as a child, I assumed the ingredients were complicated. Turns out, this is a lovely reminder that basic ingredients, combined well, yield elegant results.
The custard base is a mixture of heavy cream, egg yolks, and sugar. I use heavy cream over milk for the higher fat content. I want a creamy custard with minimal ingredients.
There are recipes that call for whole eggs, but this is not one of them. I find the results to be more consistent with egg yolks only. Additionally, egg yolks add a richer color to the custard, which to me, looks appealing. Thankfully, it’s easy to use egg whites in a myriad of other recipes, from egg bakes to macarons!
Finally, I just use regular granulated sugar for the burnt sugar topping. Some recipes call for coarse sugar, others use extra fine sugar, so you really can’t go wrong either way. The difference will be in the amount of time it takes for the sugar to melt and burn.
In my experience, the trick to a beautiful burnt sugar crust is in using a kitchen torch. A broiler will not give you the most consistent results since you can’t move the heat source around. Don’t make the sugar layer too thick so you don’t end up with unmelted sugar underneath the top layer. Third, use low to medium heat on the kitchen torch. An extra few seconds of torch time will pay off in a lovely crust!
Using a water bath for baking creme brulee
Whether you choose to bake your creme brulee in individual portions or in a single large dish, keeping your custard from overbaking is important! One option is to place your two oven racks close together with a pan of water in the bottom rack to increase the humidity in the oven. But the best option, in my experience, is using a water bath.
A water bath, if you’re unfamiliar, is a technique where you place your baking dish in a larger, rimmed dish, and then pour water in the outer dish so that it comes up the sides of your dessert baking dish about halfway. You don’t want any water getting into your dessert!
If you’ve ever baked one of my fabulous cheesecake recipes, you’ve used a water bath.
The water acts as a protective layer around your dessert, preventing the baking dish from getting too hot at the bottom and sides, overbaking the dessert edges before the center is ready.
As a tip, when baking your creme brulee custard, look for a set but still slightly jiggly center, just like you would cheesecake. If you wait until it is completely set, you’ll find that you’ve overbaked slightly. The result will still be delicious, but the texture will be slightly less creamy.
I hope you love this recipe, darlings! Happy baking!
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/3 cup Irish cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons fine sugar, more as needed
- Preheat your oven to 300 F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, a pinch of salt, and vanilla extract.
- Combine the sugar, cream, and Irish cream in a small saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is quite hot, but not boiling.
- As soon as the cream mixture is hot, remove it from the heat. Pour it into the egg yolks in a thin stream while whisking constantly (see notes for a tip to keep the bowl steady). Take your time so the egg yolks have time to temper and the mixture stays smooth.
- Divide the custard evenly between your 6 ramekins.
- Place the ramekins in a rimmed baking dish or casserole dish. Carefully pour water into the outer baking dish, making sure not to get any into the custard, until the water reaches about halfway up the sides of each ramekin.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until the custards have almost set, but still jiggle slightly.
- Allow them to cool at room temperature for 45-60 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator to chill.
- Once the custard has completely chilled, remove the desired quantity of ramekins from the refrigerator. If there's any condensation, carefully pat the top of the custard. Sprinkle a thin layer of granulated sugar over top, then use a kitchen torch to create the creme brulee signature burnt sugar crust.
- It helps if you place the mixing bowl on a kitchen towel while you pour in the hot cream. That way, you can whisk without the bowl sliding around on the countertop.
- If you don't have a kitchen torch, place the ramekins on a baking sheet and place them under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Watch them carefully so they don't burn!
- You may make creme brulee up to 2 days in advance. Keep the custards covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Top with sugar just before serving.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 523Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 329mgSodium: 123mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 0gSugar: 23gProtein: 10g
These nutrition values are estimates. Exact values will vary depending on the ingredients, brands, and quantities used.