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Lemon crème brûlée

Lemon crème brûlée is a citrus-flavoured, baked custard that has a crackable caramelised topping. A rich dessert that is perfect to eat during winter.

Meal Type Dessert
Cuisine French-Inspired
Keyword Lemon crème brûlée, Vegetarian
Chill crème brûlées in fridge 3 hours
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 2 Crème brûlées
Author Veg Coast Cook


  • 360 ml thickened cream
  • 100 g caster sugar (reserve 20 g for candied lemon peel and 20 g for brûlée topping)
  • 1 lemon juice & zest
  • 4 large free-range egg yolks *see Recipe Notes


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C fan. Put two ramekins in a deep baking dish (*see Recipe Notes).
  2. Use a knife or vegetable peeler to peel the lemon zest into large strips. Cut the lemon in half and juice it.

  3. Add cream, 60g of sugar and the lemon peel to a medium sized saucepan. Stir and heat over a medium heat until it is simmering and the sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes).
  4. Meanwhile, lightly whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl.
  5. Take the warm cream off the heat. Remove lemon peel and put on a plate to use later.
  6. Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the mixture and whisk.
  7. Divide the custard between the two ramekins and pour boiling water into the baking dish (around the ramekins) so it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes or until the centres of the custards are jiggly. Remove from the oven and leave them in the water bath for 10 minutes. Discard the water after this time.

  8. Transfer the ramekins to the fridge when they have cooled down. Chill crème brûlées in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
  9. Meanwhile, make the candied lemon peel. Cut the lemon peel (that infused in the hot cream mixture) into thin strips. Put 100 ml of water into a small saucepan, add remaining lemon juice (if there is any left), add 15 g of sugar and the strips of lemon peel. Bring to the boil. Stir, reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes.

  10. Remove from heat and take the lemon peel out of the sugar syrup (using tongs) & allow peel to cool on a lined baking tray. When the peel is cool, sprinkle over 5 g of sugar and mix evenly to coat the peel. Set aside until serving.

  11. Preheat grill to a high heat. Take the crème brûlées out of the fridge. Sprinkle each of the tops of the custard with 10g of sugar. Place crème brûlées under the hot grill until the sugar has caramelised (using oven gloves, turn the custards halfway through caramelisation and be careful not to let the sugar burn). Remove the custards from under the grill.

  12. To serve (room temperature or cold): garnish the crème brûlées with candied lemon peel.

Recipe Notes

*Ramekins - I use ramekins that have a 10cm diameter & a height of 5cm. You can divide the custard between smaller ramekins if you like; this will make more crème brûlées (depending on the size of the ramekins that you use).

*Eggs – separate the eggs and keep the egg whites for another recipe such as mini pavlovas.

I caramelise the custards under a hot grill. If you own a kitchen blowtorch then you can use this to caramelise the sugar instead.