Last Updated on September 17, 2023 by The Noms
This creamy Apple Creme Brulee recipe has a crunchy and caramelized topping! This fall dessert is easy to make, yet impressive to serve to dinner guests, plus we added brandy.
We recently had a night out at a restaurant where they offered one of our favorite desserts, creme brulee. The combination of smooth creamy custard and the hot caramelized sugar crust on the top makes for an elegant delicious dessert. It’s one of those desserts that makes you look like an amazing cook, but the secret about creme brulee is that it is quite easy to make!
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What is Creme Brulee?
Creme Brulee is a dessert made with a rich custard base topped with a layer of hardened caramelized sugar. It is served slightly chilled; the heat from caramelizing the sugar tends to warm the top of the custard, while leaving the center cool.
Brulee means “burnt cream.” The sugar becomes a thin, hard crust with a slight burnt flavor that perfectly complements the sweet custard. The making of crème brûlée is simple yet impressive.
With the flavor of creme brulee freshly in our minds, we decided that maybe we should do what we do best (add booze to stuff!) and make an Apple Cider Brandy Creme Brulee! Try our Berry Bites, Whiskey Panna Cotta, and Affogato!
We have been on a real fall kick the last few weeks, inspired by the colorful leaves, crisp cool days and a trip to our local apple orchard. At the orchard we had the chance to sample some of their freshly pressed ciders, wines and a huge assortment of products made from the fruits grown on the orchards. We even made an apple infused Fall Gin & Tonic!
With these flavors in mind, we wanted to highlight apple brandy and apple cider together. Plan to serve the Apple Creme Brulee while it is still cold and savor the delicious, creamy apple custard. We always think the burnt sugar on the top is the best part.
What Ingredients are Needed for the Apple Creme Brulee?
We wanted to make a seasonal fall creme brulee, but everything pumpkin is being overdone! So likewise we decided that we wanted to go with a little more traditional fall flavor, apple! One of the easiest ways in infuse apple flavor is to use apple cider. We used the apple cider we got at our local orchard and mixed that in with our custard base, adding a tart apple flavor to the creamy custard.
- Egg Yolks – these yolks give a great richness to the custard. Just use the egg whites for your morning omelet.
- Vanilla Extract – as always use the measurement of this ingredient with your heart. But seriously, vanilla extract adds that great flavor we all know and love in baked goods and desserts.
- Apple Brandy – a necessary part of a boozy dessert. This doesn’t add a huge amount of apple flavor, but does add a richness and slight sweetness to the creme brulee.
- Heavy Cream – again, this ingredient is there because the custard needs to be rich and delightful!
- Apple Cider – a great fall ingredient, this richer version of apple juice is a fall classic. We use it in a lot of cocktail recipes like Caramel Apple Cider Mimosa, Hot Buttered Cider, Apple Cider Old Fashioned, and Clove & Cider, plus our Thanksgiving Punch.
- Salt – a good dessert always needs a dash of salt to cut the sweetness slightly.
- Sugar – for sweetness, but also necessary as an extra ingredient on top. This sugar on top is then caramelized with a culinary torch which then makes a crispy crust on the top that is broken when eaten, and in my opinion, the best part of the creme brulee.
What Alcohol did we add to the Creme Brulee?
All in all, its kind of our thing to find ways to add a little boozy kick to dishes, so we decided that a worthy partner to the apple cider would be some apple brandy. Some apple brandy is made from apples that were allowed to ferment, then distilled and aged in oak barrels like the traditional French apple brandy, Calvados.
Aging in oak gives this brandy a hint of vanilla while still having a strong apple flavor.
Whether you call it applejack, Calvados or apple brandy, they are any liquor made from fermented and distilled apples.
The category is far more varied than perhaps first meets the eye. There are clear, unaged bottles and amber-hued apple brandies that spend years aging. Production methods include continuous column stills, copper pot stills and even freeze distillation called “jacking.”
How to Make the Apple Crème Brulee
The apple brandy brings a nice boozy edge and helps cut the richness of the custard while complimenting the crisp crunchy caramelized sugar in the brulee’d top. The creamy custard is full of smooth vanilla, tart apple cider and brandy. The brulee’d top adds a sweet toasted caramel flavor that nicely contrasts the cool custard, making each bite different from the last.
To make the custard, preheat oven to 300°F. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar and salt until combined. In a heavy saucepan, heat cream until it begins to simmer over medium heat.
Remove from heat and slowly stream hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking the whole time with the rest of the cream. Stir in apple cider, brandy and vanilla. Transfer mixture to a container you can pour easily from.
Place 4-6 ramekins into a deep baking dish. Pour (or ladle cream mixture) into the ramekins, filling almost to the top. Pour hot water into the baking dish halfway up the sides of the ramekins for the water bath. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and water bath, place ramekins on a baking sheet, and cool to room temp. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Prior to serving, sprinkle each custard with granulated sugar (about 1/2-1 Tablespoon) and heat with a culinary torch, caramelizing the sugar to desired color, try for golden brown. You can place ramekins under the broiler for about 30 seconds if you don’t have a kitchen torch.
Tips & Tricks
- Garnish – sprinkle some cinnamon on top of creme brulee, or use apple slices or whipping cream.
- Alcohol – if you don’t have apple brandy, you can use regular brandy, applejack, Calvados, pear brandy or even bourbon. Check out our Calvados cocktail Normandy Flower.
- Sweetener – we suggest regular granulated sugar for the caramelized top, but if you want to use different sweetener in the custard, you can. Brown sugar or turbinado sugar work well, as does honey.
- Tools – you may want a culinary torch and ramekins, and maybe a fine mesh sieve for this great fall dessert.
- Extract – if you don’t have vanilla extract, you can use maple extract or even rum extract for some fun flavor. Or, add a vanilla pod into the cream when heating, just make sure to strain it out with a fine sieve!
If You are Looking for More Dessert, Try These!
- Earl Gray Pot de Creme
- Peach Bourbon Shortbread Bars
- Chocolate Bourbon Tart
- Banana Nutella Hand Pies
- Chocolate Chip Marshmallows
- Skillet S’mores with Peppermint
- Peppermint Mocha Marshmallows
- Cherry Amaretto Marshmallows
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Like this recipe? Try these below, too!
Other Boozy Creme Brulees
- Irish Coffee Creme Brulee – Baking a Moment
- Eggnog Creme Brulee – The Cozy Apron
- Drunken Pecan Creme Caramel – Southern Fatty
An apple brandy infused version of the classic creme brulee, with a fall touch. This Apple Creme Brulee has apple from apple cider and apple brandy.
Apple Cider Creme Brulee
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup apple cider
- 2 Tablespoons apple brandy (or bourbon)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- additional 2-4 Tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 300°.
Whisk egg yolks, sugar and salt in a medium bowl.
Heat cream in small saucepan until it just begins to simmer. Remove from heat.
Slowly add cream to egg mixture, whisking the whole time. Stir in cider, brandy and vanilla.
Transfer mixture to a container you can pour from, and transfer to ramekins. Place 4-6 ramekins in baking dish, and fill with hot water until the water is halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake 40-45 minutes or until barely set in the middle. Remove from oven and water bath, place on a small tray or baking sheet. Cool, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight..
Transfer to fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, top with 1/2-1 Tbsp sugar and brulee with a hand torch or under the broiler. Serve immediately.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 148Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4.2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 158mgSodium: 108mgCarbohydrates: 12.1gFiber: 0gSugar: 11.3gProtein: 2.1g
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