Earl Grey Crème Brûlée

Earl Grey Crème Brûlée
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About This Recipe

Napa Valley, with its sweeping vineyards and enchanting scenery, is renowned worldwide for its exceptional wines and culinary expertise. Among the myriad of delightful dishes, a standout is the classic French dessert, crème brûlée. Now, what if I told you there's a version that beautifully infuses the aromatic allure of Earl Grey tea? Allow me to introduce the Earl Grey Crème Brûlée. A marriage of French elegance and British sophistication, this dish is everything you'd expect from wine country creativity.

Our story begins with the crème brûlée. While traditionally French, Napa's culinary scene has embraced and adapted it, much like many classic dishes, to bring in local flavors. It’s that creativity that led to an easy creme brulee recipe with a twist - infusing it with Earl Grey tea. The subtle notes of bergamot from the tea intertwine seamlessly with the velvety creaminess of the dessert, creating a luxurious flavor profile.

One might wonder, "Why Earl Grey?" Apart from the fact that it’s one of the most cherished teas worldwide, Earl Grey has a certain depth, thanks to its signature bergamot flavor. When used in tea desserts, like this one, it elevates the dish to a whole new level of sophistication. This earl grey creme brulee is more than just a dessert; it’s an experience – one that every visitor to Napa or Sonoma should indulge in.

Now, speaking of indulgence, what's a dessert without the perfect wine pairing, especially in a region that boasts some of the world's best wines? When you’re thinking of wines to complement the Earl Grey Crème Brûlée, a few choices stand out. A Late Harvest Riesling, such as the ones from Navarro Vineyards, can mirror the sweetness of the dish while offering a refreshing palate cleanse. If you're aiming for something bubbly and effervescent, a Moscato, like the renowned Electra from Quady Winery, could be your pick. For those feeling a bit more daring, a rich Port from Ridge Vineyards provides a bold contrast, amplifying the dessert's flavors.

Considering the easy creme brulee recipe with its Earl Grey twist, it's versatile enough to fit into various menus. In wine country, we love our wine dinners. Imagine starting with a fresh salad with a vinaigrette echoing the citrusy notes of bergamot, moving on to a main course of tender poultry or fish, and then culminating in the Earl Grey Crème Brûlée. And of course, each course paired impeccably with wines from our very own Napa and Sonoma vineyards.

Visitors to the region often seek experiences that are both authentic and unique. The Earl Grey Crème Brûlée fits that bill perfectly. Whether you're dining in a high-end Napa restaurant or attending a more intimate gathering in Sonoma, this dessert is a reflection of what wine country is all about – taking the classics and infusing them with a touch of local flavor and innovation.

To all who are keen on trying out this dish or are simply curious about Napa's culinary wonders, I recommend not only diving into this creme brulee recipe but also venturing through our valley. From the vineyards of Sonoma County to the quaint cafes of Napa, there's a story in every dish, a history in every sip of wine, and an adventure waiting for every discerning palate.

In Napa, we often say that the land speaks to us. Through the Earl Grey Crème Brûlée, it tells a tale of tradition, innovation, and the beautiful confluence of cultures. So, the next time you find yourself in our beautiful valley, remember to listen closely, for the land, the wine, and the food have many stories to share.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Earl Grey Tea

Originating from England, Earl Grey is not just any tea. It's a blend of black teas infused with bergamot oil, lending it a distinct and aromatic citrusy flavor. Earl Grey has been celebrated for centuries for its invigorating taste and has found its way into an array of culinary delights, including our easy creme brulee recipe. The bergamot's subtle citrus notes complement the rich, creamy base of the crème brûlée, making it an exceptional choice for tea desserts.

How to Achieve the Perfect Caramelized Sugar Top

  1. Ensure your custard base is completely cold. This ensures that the custard doesn’t cook further when torching the sugar.
  2. Sprinkle a uniform layer of granulated sugar atop your set custard.
  3. Using a kitchen torch, aim the flame directly at the sugar, moving it in a circular motion until the sugar melts and turns a golden amber hue. Remember, patience is key – don't rush this step!
  4. Allow it to set for a few minutes. This will harden the sugar, creating that signature crack when you tap it with a spoon.


  1. Can I store leftover Earl Grey Crème Brûlée? Absolutely! If you haven't caramelized the top, you can refrigerate the custard for up to three days. Just remember to add the sugar and caramelize just before serving.
  2. I have a nut allergy. Is this dessert safe for me? This specific creme brulee recipe doesn't contain nuts. However, always ensure to check the labels of your ingredients and be aware of cross-contamination if you're highly allergic.
  3. I don’t have Earl Grey. Can I use another tea? Yes, while Earl Grey offers a unique flavor, you can experiment with other teas. Jasmine or chamomile could be interesting alternatives.
  4. Do I need a kitchen torch for the caramelized top? While a kitchen torch gives the best results, you can also use your oven's broiler setting. Just keep a close eye to avoid burning the sugar.
  5. Can I use a different type of sugar for the top? Granulated sugar works best for achieving that crispy caramelized top, but you can also experiment with brown sugar or raw turbinado sugar for a deeper flavor.

Tips for Success

  1. Proper Infusion: Ensure the Earl Grey tea bags steep long enough to impart a strong flavor but not so long that the tea becomes bitter.
  2. Strain for Smoothness: To achieve the perfect velvety texture, always strain your custard mixture through a fine-mesh sieve before pouring into ramekins.
  3. Oven Positioning: For an even cook, position your ramekins in the center of your oven and avoid opening the oven door frequently, which can cause temperature fluctuations.

Remember, while techniques and tips ensure success, the heart of this Earl Grey Crème Brûlée lies in the love and passion you pour into the process. So, take a moment, enjoy the journey, and relish in the symphony of flavors that is this delightful tea dessert.

Recipe Overview

Earl Grey Crème Brûlée
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List

4 servingsIngredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves (or 2 tea bags)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for the caramelized topping
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Infuse the Cream: In a medium saucepan, warm the heavy cream over medium heat until it's just about to boil. Remove from heat, add the Earl Grey tea leaves or tea bags, and let it steep for about 15 minutes. After steeping, strain the cream to remove the tea leaves or remove the tea bags.
  2. Preheat Oven: Set your oven to 325°F (160°C).
  3. Whisk Egg Yolks and Sugar: In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt until the mixture is pale and creamy.
  4. Combine: Gradually and slowly pour the infused cream into the egg yolk mixture, constantly whisking to combine.
  5. Bake: Pour the mixture through a sieve into ramekins. Place the ramekins into a baking dish and fill the dish with hot water halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until set but still slightly wobbly in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  6. Caramelize: Before serving, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over each crème brûlée. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar until golden brown. Let it sit for a minute to harden, then serve.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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