Eggnog Creme Brulee with caramelized cranberry sugar topping is a delicious, easy, make ahead Christmas dessert recipe.
Eggnog dessert recipe
Elegant and refined this classic dessert gets a festive makeover from the flavors of egg nog, warm spices, and cranberry sugar.
Eggnog is a delicious seasonal beverage made from cream, eggs and sugar that is typically enjoyed like a punch as a holiday nog or eggnog cocktail mixed with alcohol like brandy, bourbon or rum.
The simple, warm pumpkin spice like flavor of eggnog makes a great crème brulee flavor that’s perfectly complimented by the toasty cranberry sugar topping.
Don’t need to make it a festive Christmas dessert then go ahead and top it more traditionally with simply a layer of sugar. Or highlight the cinnamon and nutmeg flavors in the eggnog with a little bit of the same spices mixed into the sugar before toasting.
Only a few steps and a handful of ingredients are all you need for this show stopping holiday dessert!
- Eggnog – typically found near the coffee creamers and half and half in the refrigerated section of grocery stores from late October through January. Store bought eggnog is pasteurized so no need to worry about the risk of consuming raw eggs. Or eggnog ingredients are simple enough that you can make your own and substitute homemade. f you’d prefer a custard with less nog feel free to reduce the amount of egg nog and add more cream if desired.
- Classic heavy whipping cream
- Egg yolks
- Cranberry sugar – an easy festive upgrade that takes just a few seconds to make. Or substitute for regular sugar or sugar mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Vanilla extract – or for more festive holiday flavor substitute spiced rum or whiskey.
- Salt and spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
Step by step instructions
- Bring eggnog and cream to a simmer then allow to cool to just above room temperature.
- Whisk egg yolks and sugar until lighter in color and ribbony.
- Combine warm eggnog and cream with whisked sugar and egg yolks then strain just to be sure that there’s no eggy pieces.
- Bake in a water bath in low oven until no longer jiggly in the center.
- Then cool on countertop at room temperature no longer than 2 hours.
- And refrigerate until fully chilled and solid, at least 3 hours up to 3 days.
- When ready to serve sprinkle an even layer of Cranberry Sugar on top.
- Heat sugar under broiler or with a hand torch until evenly melted and crunchy.
Make without a hand torch
If you have a hand torch it makes it so easy to caramelize the sugar topping without melting the crème brulee underneath. But you can totally make crème brulee without a torch!
Instead fully chill the crème brulee and top with a thick layer of cranberry sugar. The heat quickly under the broiler just until the sugar is melted and lightly smoking.
How to serve
Serve with a spoon to crack into the sugar crust and spoon out the custard. You can also serve crème brulee with shortbread for dipping, fresh fruit, mint leaves, etc.
How to store
Creme brulee can be cooked and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance. Allow to cool to room temperature, no longer than two hours. Then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to three days. Serve cold or bring to room temperature before caramelizing and serving.
Crème brulee can also be frozen up to one month after chilled and covered tightly. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before caramelizing and serving.
- 2 cups eggnog
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream 1 pint
- 6 large egg yolks
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- pinch cloves optional
- Preheat oven to 300ºF.
- Combine eggnog, cream and spices in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.2 cups eggnog, 2 cups heavy whipping cream, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg, pinch cloves
- Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla.1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Meanwhile whisk sugar and salt into egg yolks until pale yellow and ribbony.⅓ cup sugar, ⅛ teaspoon salt, 6 large egg yolks
- Prepare boiling water and place custard dishes in a large baking dish with deep sides.
- Whisk ⅓ of the simmered eggnog mixture into the egg yolk mix to temper. Then stir in the remaining warm eggnog. Optionally, you can strain eggnog mixture through a fine mesh strainer before whisking into yolks.
- Evenly separate egg nog custard into prepared dishes and place in preheated oven.
- Pour boiling water into the baking dish until it comes half way up the custard dishes.
- Bake for 45 minutes to one hour. Or until custard is firm but still a little wiggly in the center.
- Remove individual custards from water bath and cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes, before placing in refrigerator to cool.
- Top with cranberry sugar when ready to serve. Then place under broiler until sugar melts and bubbles. Alternately they can be caramelized with a kitchen torch.