Article By: Joshua Houghton
Contributing Writer

Lemon Basil Creme Brulee
Makes six 8 oz Portions


– 1 Small Saucepan
– 1 Medium Sized Mixing Bowl, Metal Preferred
– 1 Small to Medium Sized Firm Whisk
– 1 Heat Proof Spatula
– 1 Fine Mesh Strainer
– 1 Medium sized container for pouring liquids such as Pitcher
– 6 10 oz or larger Ramekins for baking (More details in Directions)
– 1 Large Pan at least 4” deep
– Kitchen Torch or Broiler

– 7 Egg Yolks
– 1 Cup White Sugar, Plus 1⁄2 cup for topping
– 1 Qt Heavy Cream
– Zest of 1 Lemon
– Juice of 1 Lemon
– 3 oz Fresh Basil

Preheat oven to 275 degrees Convection or 300 degrees Conventional

I really enjoy adding herb flavors to my creme brulees – it gives it a little something special and will surely wow your guests. First, we will flavor our cream. Combine the cream and basil in a small saucepan on medium low heat. To keep the bitterness of the plant at bay, I recommend
minimizing the amount of stems you stir in. A few is ok, but the more stems, the more bitter taste you will experience. Heat the cream mixture until it comes to a simmer and cover, then remove from the heat and let steep with basil leaves for fifteen minutes.
Next we will create the egg mixture. In a medium sized mixing bowl, separate the egg yolks
from the whites. Add sugar and whisk together aggressively for at least 2-3 minutes. Adding
some extra force here is very important, and if you are doing it right, you will notice that the egg yolks will go from a darker yellow to a light fluffy yellow. This step is essential for creating a super smooth texture.

Don’t be afraid to go a little crazy here! Once you’ve gotten that light
yellow color, zest and juice the lemon – combine in with egg yolks and sugar.
Now it is time to temper in your cream to the egg mixture. When we temper, we are slowly
introducing a hotter liquid into a colder liquid with movement. Tempering is fairly simple but has great risk if done wrong. If you were to add all the cream at once you risk cooking the egg yolks and curdling the mixture. Slowly pour in 1⁄3 of the cream mixture while whisking. Continue until you’ve added the remaining cream. After you finish combining the cream and egg mixtures, rest a strainer over an empty bowl and run the mixture through to remove basil and any other small pieces of debris.

You are now ready to pour the mixture evenly into your six ramekins.
Lay out the ramekins in the 4” deep pan. It is important that the pan is at least as deep as your ramekins. You can use any size or shape of ramekin for this but I find that the wider and more shallow ones help the creme brulees bake best. Put the whole pan with the ramekins into the oven first.
Next we need to create a water bath for the ramekins. Add hot water into the pan so that the ramekins are surrounded about halfway up. If you’ve ever made a cheesecake, this is a similar technique. This will guarantee a creamy texture to your finished creme brulee.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan with the ramekins to ensure even cooking. Bake for an
additional 20 minutes and check again. Depending on your oven the tops may brown slightly but
the real indicator that they are done is the jiggle. You want the creme brulee to look like jello with only a little movement in the center and the rest is firm. When done, remove from the oven.

Leteverything cool slightly so you can remove it from the water bath and set into the fridge for at least 6 hours. Its preferred to let it sit overnight, but 6 hours is the minimum.
Now the cherry on top – the beautiful burnt sugar crust.

If you have a kitchen torch this will work best but you can also set your broiler to high. Spread a small amount of sugar to make a thin and even layer across the top. You need to add enough sugar where you can barely see the egg and cream mixture, but do not make it too thick. Torch until golden brown or place underbroiler. If you are using the broiler method you will need to check and rotate every 30-45 seconds to avoid burning. Let cool for a minute so the sugar can set, crack right in and enjoy!

Creme Brulee was one of the first dishes I started creating when I was working in the restaurant
industry. I have created hundreds of flavors and now use it as a staple dessert for my privately
catered dinners. This flavor can be used year round and captures amazing flavors. The herbal
basil, with bright fresh lemon and rich creamy eggs is a medley that will leave you and your
guests speechless. It makes you want to go back for bite after bite. If you are feeling
adventurous and want to try a few other flavor combinations, you can experiment with cranberry
and sage or orange and rosemary.

Hi, I’m Joshua!
Since I can remember, I have had a special connection with food. Some might call it love,
obsession, fascination, or passion. I can’t quite describe it, I just know food is a part of who I
am. Growing up, I would fall asleep watching the food network, and have the blessing of
sitting down with my family eating dinner together almost every night. I enjoy almost
nothing more than talking and sharing about ingredients, dishes, and the culture
surrounding them. As the years passed, I grew to learn not only the technical knowledge of
ingredients, and how to prepare them, but the power and emotion food has over us. The
endless options of flavors, the ability for a meal to bring people together, the nostalgia one
feels after the tastes and smells of a wonderful dish. I want to share the great food and
memories I have with others and create new ones.
Josh can be reached at his website:

By Published On: August 31, 2023Categories: What's Cookin'?

About the Author: Joshua Houghton

I've been cooking ever since I can remember, and it's not just a passion for me; it's a way of life. Hi, I'm Joshua, and I've dedicated my culinary journey to the art of creating unforgettable dining experiences. What truly sets my heart on fire is the intimacy of cooking in people's homes, where I can connect with them on a personal level. I run my own catering business, where I craft bespoke menus tailored to each client's desires. But it's not just about the food, it's about the stories and memories that unfold around the dinner table. I have a deep commitment to using locally sourced ingredients, not only for their freshness and quality but also to support thecommunity that has always inspired me. Cooking with heart, soul, and local flavors – that's what defines my culinary philosophy.

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