Parmesan and thyme crème brûlée

August 7, 2019 (Last Updated: August 6, 2019)
Parmesan and thyme crème brûlée

Recipe and styling by Nomvuselelo Mncube
Photograph by Dylan Swart

Parmesan and thyme crème brûlée

Serves: 4
Total Time: 30 mins


  • 500ml (2 cups) fresh cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
  • small handful thyme sprigs + extra, to sprinkle
  • 200g Parmesan, grated
  • 6 egg yolks
  • knob butter, to fry
  • ciabatta, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • pinch salt



Preheat the oven to 180˚C and place 4 individual-serving ramekins/mini serving pots in a large, deep roasting tray. Set aside until needed.


Combine the cream, garlic cloves and thyme sprigs in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the Parmesan and heat, stirring, 3 minutes or until smooth. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk a little of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks and then transfer the egg yolk mixture to the cream in the saucepan. Whisk to combine, then strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl, and discard the garlic and thyme sprigs.


Divide the cream mixture evenly among the ramekins. Pour just enough hot water into the roasting tray to come ¾ up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the custards until just set, but still slightly wobbly in the centre, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and use a kitchen towel to transfer the ramekins from the water bath to a surface.


Place a large frying pan over high heat, add a knob butter and fry the ciabatta slices on both sides to a light golden colour, 2 – 3 minutes. Combine the castor sugar and the salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the 4 custards and use a kitchen blowtorch in a circular motion above the sugar until the sugar melts and caramelises, about 1 – 2 minutes. Serve with the ciabatta toast alongside and garnish the crème brûlées with a sprinkling of thyme.

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