Crème brûlée with cherries and kirsch

A combination of just-set vanilla custard and crisp caramelised sugar, a crème brûlée is a popular choice of dessert for many. Here there is a surprise mix of cherries and kirsch at the bottom of the dish but you can change that to a fruit of your choice.

Makes 4 medium brulees or 8 small

Prep: 5 minutes, plus cooling timeCook: 20 minutes


Fruit Sauce:

400g tin cherries, or use a jar or frozen cherries50g caster sugar1tbsp arrowroot100ml Kirsch

Crème Brulee:

1 vanilla pod, or 1 tsp vanilla extract500ml double cream50g caster sugar4 egg yolks2 whole eggs

For the brulee topping:

Depending on size of dish, approximately 75g each caster and golden caster sugar


  • Fruit Sauce: Place the cherries with juice (if using a can or jar) in a pan with the sugar, arrowroot and all but about a tablespoon of the Kirsch.

  • Simmer gently to reduce all liquid from the cherries. The cherries should have a ‘jam’ consistency.

  • Take the dishes of your choice and spread the cherry mix on the bottom, but not too smooth so you get a little surprise. Add a little drizzle of the remaining Kirsch.

  • Creme brulèe custard: Split the vanilla pod and scoop out the flesh.

  • In a saucepan add the cream and scald the cream with the vanilla seeds or vanilla extract if using.

  • Whisk together the sugar, yolks and eggs until pale.

  • Pour the boiling cream over the eggs and cook to thicken, stirring continuously until the custard coats the back of a spoon.

  • Strain the custard over the fruit in the dishes. Leave to cool and set a little in the fridge for 3-4 hours. This is a soft set custard it does not set firm.

  • To brulee: Mix caster and golden caster sugar and thickly spread (about 1⁄2 cm thick) over the custard.

  • Grill until dark golden brown and the sugar has melted. Leave to cool before serving.


Use any fruit of your choice to make the sauce, fresh, tinned, a jar or frozen all work well.

Freezing the dishes helps the custard to cool faster.

An easy way to use the deseeded vanilla pod is to dry it and add it to a jar of sugar.

If the custard curdles, blend it with 1 ice cube until smooth again. It may not be as smooth as uncurdled custard, but, it will prevent you from discarding the whole batch.

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