Sirio Maccioni’s Le Cirque Crème Brûlée

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  4 half-cup servings (2 cups total)
Prep Time:  5 minutes Cook Time:  1 hour 30 minutes

Sirio Maccioni’s Le Cirque Crème Brûlée

This version of the classic French dessert is adapted from "New York Cookbook'' by Molly O'Neill (Workman Publishing, 1992).


2 cups heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Pinch of salt

4 large egg yolks

7 tablespoons granulated sugar

4 tablespoons light brown sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place 4 ¾-cup ramekins in a roasting pan.
  2. In a saucepan set over low heat, combine the cream, vanilla bean, and salt. Warm for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and granulated sugar. Pour in the hot cream and stir gently to combine. Strain the custard into a pitcher, discard the vanilla bean, and use a spoon to skim off any bubbles on the surface of the custard.
  3. Pour the custard into the ramekins, filling them to ½ inch below the rim. Place the roasting pan in the oven and carefully pour warm water into the pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake until set, about 1¼ hours.
  4. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool. Cover individually and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
  5. When ready to serve, preheat the broiler. Uncover the ramekins and place them on a baking sheet. Top each with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar and, using a metal spatula or knife, spread the sugar evenly over the custards. Broil the custards, watching carefully, until the sugar browns and caramelizes, 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

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