Recipe: Tessa Kiros’s Raspberry Créme Brûlée

Acclaimed food writer Tessa Kiros shares a recipe for Raspberry Créme Brûlée from her book “Now & Then” from Murdoch Books.

“This is a collection of the recipes of my life. Some of my memories – and some from these days. From the sweet memories of my childhood in South Africa that have stayed with me, to the travels and wonderful journeys that have peppered my pathway and formed the lampposts of my life, to where I am today – living in the countryside in Italy with my family and four cats, finding a grounding balance in the everyday. Here it is. For me and for you. What I have been doing. Where I am at – nowadays – with some reminiscing,” said Kiros.


Makes 6 x 150 ml (5 fl oz) ramekins

500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) thin (whipping) cream

½ vanilla pod split lengthways, or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

180 g (6¼ oz) raspberries

65 g (2¼ oz) white sugar, plus ½ teaspoon for each pot

4 egg yolks

light brown sugar, for sprinkling


Anything vanilla raspberry is a yay from me. These smell gorgeous while baking and brûléeing.

Put the cream into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Using the tip of a teaspoon, scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod into the cream, then add them to the pan together with the pod (or add the vanilla extract). Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for a couple of minutes to infuse the flavors.

Remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes longer.

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Divide the raspberries among 6x150ml (5 fl oz) shallow ramekins and sit them in a roasting tin. Scatter ½ teaspoon of sugar over the raspberries in each pot.

In a wide bowl, whisk the egg yolks and white sugar together until creamy. Gradually whisk in the warm cream a little at a time, to prevent it from scrambling. Let it cool a bit and let any bubbles or froth settle by ladling through it a few times. Remove the vanilla pod and divide among the ramekins, pouring gently. Add enough warm water to the tin to come halfway up the ramekins.

Carefully move the tin to the oven and cook for about 40 minutes until set and pale golden (they must have a bit of color, but if it looks like they are getting too dark, cover with foil), rotating the tin halfway through for even cooking. The brûlées will still wobble slightly when you shake them gently, and the cooking time will depend on the size of the dishes and the depth of the mixture, so check them towards the end. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then put the ramekins in the fridge to chill for a few hours or overnight.

To serve, spoon about 1½ teaspoons of light brown sugar over each and smooth it to an even, very thin layer using the back of a teaspoon. If you have one, use a kitchen blowtorch to melt the sugar and caramelize the tops. Alternatively, put the ramekins on a baking tray under a very hot grill until the sugar on top is golden and caramelized, keeping an eye on them as they can suddenly burn. If you have grilled them, replace in the fridge to set and cool a little before serving, as the time under the grill will have heated the custard.

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