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Crème brûlée with lemongrass

18 November 2015

This scrumptious recipe for crème brûlée comes from Yvette Van Boven, and was a popular dessert in her Amsterdam restaurant.

Creme Brulee
Creme brulee, photo © 2015 Oof Verschuren

Preparation time

20 minutes

Cooking time

1 hour 15 mins

Cooling time

2 to 3 hours




  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced open and seeds scraped out
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bruised and finely chopped
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream


This dessert has long been on the menu in my old restaurant, Aan de Amstel in Amsterdam. The fresh, lightly scented lemongrass is the kicker. It’s an addictively delicious dessert.

Preheat the oven to 260ºF (125ºC). Grease four small ramekins with some butter and place them inside a large oven dish or roasting pan.

Bring the milk to just under a boil and add the vanilla bean pod and seeds, lemon zest, and lemongrass. Let steep for 15 minutes over very low heat. Strain the milk into a jug.

Beat the egg yolks with half the sugar. Whisk in the cream and then the hot milk. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared ramekins. Pour boiling water into the oven dish to halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour 15 min.

Let the custards cool to room temperature on the counter, then cover and refrigerate to cool completely.

Before serving, turn the broiler to high. Sprinkle the crèmes with the rest of the sugar and caramelize under the broiler.

Of course you can use a real crème brûlée torch, if you have one! That actually works better. Though for years I used a paint burner, you know, with one of those little propane gas tanks attached. Only last year did my mother give me one of those professional torches. Works just a tad more precisely. I’m just saying.

Home Baked by Yvette van Boven, published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang (£25.00), buy it from Abrams & Chronicle Books.

Images © 2015 Oof Verschuren.

Visit our dessert recipe page for more delicious pudding ideas.