Lavender Crème Brûlé

Lavender infused crème brûlée is my absolute favorite dessert.  I first discovered it in a restaurant in Astoria, New York called “La Sans Souci”, which was also one of my favorite restaurants in New York. Six months after being in Bulgaria, I returned to New York and was dying to visit La Sans Souci, to my disappointment it was gone.  I was crushed, not just because it had closed, but because so much had changed in my six month absence.  
I was not going to take this news lying down.  How could a popular restaurant just close down?  Turns out the head chef Eric Le Dily had decided to open his own place in Port Washington, New York, the Bistro du Village, leaving the owner of La Sans Souci high and dry… I actually do not know the story, but can assume.  The new restaurant has been open about as long as I have been in Bulgaria.  My next trip back to the states, I am going to make a pilgrimage and pray that lavender infused crème brûlée is on the menu!

Scouring the web to try and recreate his magic I stumbled upon a few recipes. This one is adapted from Rocco DiSpirito.

1 cup (236ml) whole milk

1 cup (236ml) cream  (I use President’s whipping cream because it is available in Bulgaria)
2 – 4 (30 – 60ml) tablespoons of dried lavender (depending on how strong you want the lavender flavor)
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup (79ml) granulated sugar
plus brown sugar/ raw sugar for the brûlée


Preheat the oven to 275F (135C) Boil milk and cream together in a saucepan, don’t let it boil over.  

Remove from the heat and add the lavender. Let it seep for at least one hour.
Strain the mixture and gently press the to get the remaining liquid.
Transfer to a clean saucepan (or wash the first one) Boil again, remove from heat.
Whisk together yolks and sugar till combined, don’t over mix.
Very slowly incorporate the lavender cream into the egg mixture.
Place ramekins into a baking dish. Divide custard evenly into ramekins.  
I usually get 6, into my oblong ones about 2 – 3 ounces each, but this time I did about 4 oz into 4.
  Add water to the baking dish till the ramekins are covered halfway.
Bake for 25 – 35 minutes.

 During the last 10 minutes, check frequently for doneness.  They should have a little jiggle.
Remove from water, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.

Before serving, sprinkle about 1 tablespoon (15ml) of brown sugar on top of the custard and swirl it around till evenly coated.
Using a kitchen torch, move the slowly till you have a nice brown crust. Enjoy!
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Author: caseyangelova

Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria www.caseyangelova.com

33 thoughts on “Lavender Crème Brûlé”

  1. Sounds yum!

    I have a sort of love/hate relationship with lavander. I like the idea of incorporating something floral or fragrant in certain foods. but at the same time. it feels like I'm putting a bar of soap in my mouth or drinking a bottle of lotion from Bath & Body Works when I take it in.

    I made lavander infused truffles last Christmas and felt the same way as above. Too bad I wasn't into blogging yet back then. And I used President's whipping cream too.

    Next time try this dish with rose water or rose syrup. Perfect for Valentine's.

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  2. Thanks Bonnie

    KM – I think that most people feel that way, but I have been cooking with lavender for a while now and it is a staple in my cooking. I make this great lavender cornbread cake, lavender lemonade. I am a bit obsessed with flowers. I have never made rose creme brulee, but it is on my list, I have a bunch of food grade dried flowers. I did however make rose ice cream, which was good but needed to be stronger. I love rose juice too! Bulgaria produces over 70% of the worlds rose oil, so I am close to the action!

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  3. This is a very cool thing. I have not cooked with lavender (except in herbes de provence) probably because I'd be afraid of overdoing it. But you showed me the way, girl!

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  4. Thanks for the great recipe, I saw it on Chef It Yourself contest where my ribs recipe is also posted. I really love creme brulee but have never tried to make it. Lavender sounds like a perfect flavor to compliment the rich creamy brulee.

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  5. Young Bulgarian originally from Sofia but living in Seattle now.. I am a terrible mess in the kitchen and am considering returning to Bulgaria to relearn the language (am adopted). If I return, can I cook with you!? This looks amazing!

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  6. A friend of mine makes lavendar scented caramels every year for Christmas — and they're positively wonderful. I can't imagine why this would be anything less — it's lovely.

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  7. Trix – I don't know you but you give me the vibe of a chick that can handle rockin' out with some lavender…. give it a whirl

    Brad – Glad that we are TCIY buddies! Lavender is a fickle friend as Kitchen Masochist said, you either love it or you hate it… you know what camp I am in!

    Mirella – Благодария много!! (Thank you very much) you are welcome to cook at my home anytime you want. Bulgaria has a rich cultural history. Come during the summer and eat the fruits and veggies… you will never leave!!

    Lo – I will put lavender in anything. I made a Thanksgiving turkey with herbes de provence, I added extra lavender… You can't beat it!

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  8. This looks really yummy, I have some dried lavender and eggyolks in my fridge, this recipe is almost calling out to me! I will tell you how it comes out, thanks for sharing 🙂

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  9. Dear Casey!
    Greetings fom Shizuoka, japan!
    You are proving that one can cook in any county! LOL
    Bulgaria does not have such a gastronomic reputation except for its yoghurt and wine here in Japan, so it is refreshing to discover your creations! Well, the fact that you are basically letting yourself influenced by various cuisines is the key.
    Now this lavender ceme brulee is so simple and so sophisticated at the same time! My friends in Provence would be jealous!
    thank you for sharing!
    Best regards,
    Robert-Gilles

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  10. We made lavender mojitos last summer, and even in NY City it took us 20 minutes of battling our way through the Union Square farmers market just to find some! They were damn good once we made them though…

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  11. Thank you Cooking Rookie!

    Quickies – Flower flavors are not for everyone. I am interested in exploring geraniums, but my friend said they reminded her of toilet mints!

    Epicurette – I made a lavender infused simple syrup, which I added to lemonade. I thought it was great, but my daughter wasn't too jazzed! I am going to give the mojito a whirl for sure!

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