Eggnog Creme Brulee

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Is there any beverage more “holiday” than eggnog?  I didn’t think so.  Take that, Pumpkin Spiced Lattes!  To be honest, I don’t actually drink eggnog too much.  I do, however, enjoy the occasional scoop of eggnog ice cream around this time of year.

That was the inspiration for this creme brulee.  I wanted to capture the essence of this traditional holiday beverage in a dessert.  My first attempt used the ingredients to make an actual eggnog, but the finished product didn’t taste enough like eggnog for me.  I managed to solve this by substituting half of the cream with actual eggnog.  This brought out the taste of eggnog in the dish, without ruining the delicate texture of a classic creme brulee.

heatcreamThe cream, eggnog, sugar, and spices go in a saucepan.  Heat the mixture on medium to medium-high, stirring occasionally, until it barely starts to simmer.  You want the sugar to dissolve, but it doesn’t matter if you can still see large bits of the spices in the mixture.

beatyolksWhile the cream mixture is heating up, take your egg yolks and put them in a bowl.  Add the rum and vanilla extract, then whisk until combined.

tempercustardWhen the cream mixture is sufficiently hot (again, bring it to barely a simmer), remove it from the heat.  Add the cream mixture to the yolk mixture, a little bit at a time, whisking well after each addition.  Don’t add too much too soon, or you will end up with scrambled eggs.  Once about one-third of the cream mixture had been added to the egg mixture, it is safe to whisk in the remaining cream mixture.  Just pour it in a steady stream, whisking as you pour.

IMG_0235Strain the mixture with a fine mesh strainer into your custard cups, then place them in a pan and fill it with hot water until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake these for about 45 minutes.  If you’re using the shallow ramekins, it will probably be less than that.

IMG_0238You’ll know that they’re ready because they will only barely jiggle in the center when you lightly shake the pan.  At this time, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.  Since the hot water bath will continue cooking them after they are removed from the oven, only leave them in the water bath if your centers were still a little wobbly.  Otherwise, remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool directly on the rack.  Once they are completely cool, refrigerate them for at least 4 hours before serving.

IMG_0243Right before serving, sprinkle a small coat of white sugar on top of the cooled custard.  Rotate the custard cups around to get the layer of sugar as even as possible.  Get your kitchen torch ready.  You can also use a regular propane torch.  It’s cheaper, but I found the kitchen torch easier to handle.

IMG_0245Blast the custard with your kitchen torch until the tops turn brown and bubbly.  You want to stop right before the sugar is as dark as you want it to be, because it will continue to darken for a few seconds after you remove the flame.  Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the sugar to harden.

IMG_0253There you have it.  Eggnog Creme brulee!

Eggnog Creme BruleeIs there anything as rewarding as cracking through that sugary crust and scooping some of that creamy custard out?  The crunch of the sugar makes such a wonderful contrast with the cold, smooth cream.

This recipe can be scaled up or down, depending on how many servings you need.  Happy Holidays, everyone!

Eggnog Creme Brulee


  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp eggnog
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp spiced rum
  • Additional sugar for caramelizing


Pre-heat the oven to 300°F.  Place 3 4oz ramekins in a baking pan.

In a heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks, rum, and vanilla extract until combined.  Set aside.

Heat the cream, eggnog, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to simmer.  Remove from heat.

Slowly whisk the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, a few tablespoons at a time.  Once about 1/3 of the cream mixture has been incorporated, slowly pour the remaining cream mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly.  Strain the mixture evenly into your ramekins.  Fill the baking pan with hot water, until the water reaches about halfway up the ramekins.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the custards are set.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Once cooled, refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

To serve: Sprinkle a scant ½ tsp of granulated sugar over the top of the cold custard.  Rotate and tap the ramekin to distribute the sugar evenly.  Using a torch, melt the sugar until it’s dark and bubbly.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


  1. No rum cake! No Crème Brulee! Betrayal!

    1. I know, I know. Life isn’t fair. I will make more!

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