Crème Brûlée

As traditionally made in the kitchens of King’s College, Cambridge. The muscat grapes add a delicious and delicate flavour and texture but the cream is also excellent without them.


  • cups (6 dl) double cream
  • 8 well-beaten egg yolks
  • ⅝ to 1 cup (120 to 180 g) demerara sugar
  • 1 lb (½ kg) muscat grapes


Blanch, peel and pit the grapes and lay them in a wide, shallow, fireproof serving dish.

Bring the cream just to boiling point and keep it boiling for exactly 1 minute (this timing is important). Then pour it slowly, stirring constantly, on to the well-beaten egg yolks. Beat for 1 minute and return to the heat, stirring over simmering water (or held above very low direct heat) until it thickens well — never allow it to boil again. On no account add sugar — the whole point of the dish is that the cream is unsweetened. Pour the cream over the grapes. Chill well, preferably overnight.

Cover the cold cream with a ¼ inch (0.5 cm) layer of demerara sugar. Put it under a preheated grill, not too close to the heat. Watch it and move it further from the heat if the sugar begins to burn and darken. As soon as all the sugar has melted together, remove the dish and chill it again before serving. It should be possible just to tap the crust with a spoon to crack it.