Merry Christmas!!! Orange Zest and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

I hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas and a wonderful Holiday!!!  And for those of you who will be having a White Christmas this year…. LUCKY!!!

While there is a 0% chance of me getting a White Christmas this year, last year was a different story. Last December I spent 5 days just before Christmas in Burlington Vermont. I have wanted to spent Christmas time in Vermont just like in the movie White Christmas for as along as I can remember…

This was the Christmas Tree in Downtown Burlington.


Burlington, Vermont was a small college town that I fell instantly in LOVE with.  Everything was covered in snow and the beautiful old buildings reminded me of my Mothers little Christmas village.





It was REALLY cold but I loved EVERY minute even if I couldn’t feel my feet!IMG_1396


Oh and snowshoeing was much harder than it sounded…. But is was a wonderful adventure 🙂IMG_1439

There was even a real Sleigh Ride and it Jingled All the Way….


It was a wonderful trip and something I will always remember and if it were up to me I would spend every Christmas in Vermont.

There are so many traditions that I associate with Christmas. Countless family gatherings, baking, singing carols, driving around looking at the Christmas lights, and evenings spent in front of a fire watching Christmas Movies.

But one of my favorite Christmas traditions comes from Santa…. As children Santa would always leave an orange, apple and a little chocolate in our Christmas stocking. The orange was always my favorite. It’s a tradition that has been passed down for at least 3 generations and one that I love. In fact, to this day Santa still brings me an Orange and Apple for my stocking. 

Here’s my sister and me with Santa. Based on my AWESOME acid washed jeans I would say this was 1990…IMG_1494

Because of this tradition I have always associated the flavor of Orange with the Christmas holidays. So what better way to celebrate the Christmas holidays than with an Orange Zest and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée? 

I just love Crème Brûlée don’t you? The sounds it makes as your spoon cracks into the caramelized sugar, the velvety sweet custard, the bright flavor of the orange zest and the fact that this fabulous dessert can be made up to 3 days in advance!! What’s not to love? These delicious custards are super easy to make and the kitchen blowtorch is fun and very easy to use. I’m always looking for a reason to fire up the blowtorch 🙂


Orange Zest and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

Adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot in Paris


1 extra-large egg

4 extra-large egg yolks

½ Cup Sugar + 1 Tablespoon for each serving

1 Pinch of Salt

3 Cups Heavy Cream

The Zest from 1 Orange

1 Vanilla Bean split in half and seed scraped out

½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier * optional


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks, ½ cup of sugar, orange zest and the seeds from the vanilla bean on low speed until just combined.

In a medium saucepan heat the heavy cream until it is very hot but not boiling. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the hot cream to the eggs. Add in the ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and the grand marnier. Divide the custard mixture among 6 – 6-ounce ramekins and fill almost to the top.

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake at 300 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature and refrigerate until firm.

To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.



Posted by

My name is Melody and I am the cook and blogger behind Meals With Mel. I have a love for traveling, I share a joy for gardening, and I have a passion for cooking. Although I do some baking, I don't consider myself a baker as I can't stand having to measure. When it comes to cooking my philosophy is add a bit of this, a dash of that, a splash of something doesn't hurt, never forget some type of pepper and always add at least one clove of garlic. Thanks for stopping by my Spicy Texas Kitchen and I hope to see you again!!! Melody

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