How many ways can one describe the unique experience of crème brûlée?
From the smooth and creamy mouthfeel of the delicious custard to the crunchy, toasty burnt crust, it’s a dessert that truly tickles all of your taste buds.
Despite its sophisticated appearance, crème brûlée is not only surprisingly easy to make, but it also stores very well, holding its structure and taste profile long after it’s been made.
If you plan on eating it within a few days of making it, keeping your crème brûlée in the fridge will work fine but what if you need to store it even longer – can you freeze it?
The short answer is yes, you can freeze crème brûlée and if done properly, it will last for about a month. For best results, it’s recommended that you do not torch your dessert prior to freezing.
Doing so will cause a host of issues that you don’t want to deal with when the time comes to defrost, so it’s best not to do it.
But how do you know if you’ve done it properly?
Not to worry! We’ll guide you through each step of the process. By the time you’re done here, you can be confident that your crème brûlée recipe will taste like you just made it!
Last, there’s one other possibility you might be considering, and that’s putting your crème brûlée in the freezer to help it set more quickly.
If that’s something you’re interested in, we’ll be covering that also.
Can You Freeze Cooked Crème Brûlée?
Yes, cooked crème brûlée can be frozen, and that’s the main method we’ll be discussing.
Also note that we’ve assumed you’ve already transferred the crème brûlée base to one large ramekin (or many smaller ramekins), baked them and allowed them to set.
This doesn’t assume that you have added any sugar or torched any of the desserts.
Again, it is recommended that you freeze the crème brûlée with no sugar and performing no torching.
1. Cover the Ramekin(s)
Using either aluminum foil or plastic wrap, cover each ramekin individually and seal it using something like rubber bands or tape.
2. Place Them in an Airtight Container (or Multiple)
To help keep them as free from odor and freezer burn as you can, transfer the covered ramekins to an airtight container or several, if needed.
3. Label the Container(s)
You’re almost done!
The final step is to label the container(s) with the date you placed them in the freezer. That way when you remove them, you’ll know whether you’re within the thirty-day window.
How Do You Defrost (Thaw) Crème Brûlée?
If all goes well, you should be able to freeze your crème brûlée until you’re ready and when that time comes, how should you defrost or thaw it out?
The key factor in doing this properly is having patience and not trying to rush the process.
Ideally, transfer the amount of crème brûlée you plan on eating (or serving) to the fridge for several hours or if possible, overnight.
That way, you’re able to allow it to slowly return to a chilled state, with a slight wiggle, which is the ideal way to serve it.
Once it has, add your sugar, torch it and dig in!
How Long Can Crème Brûlée Be Frozen?
If properly prepared and stored, crème brûlée can be frozen for about a month.
It’s possible that it might last longer depending on how good of a job you do in storing it but a month at a minimum is considered quite reasonable.
Freezing the Crème Brûlée Base Mixture
Until now, we’ve covered how to freeze crème brûlée that’s already been portioned into ramekins and baked but there’s also a possibility you simply want to freeze the mixture.
The fear that you probably have is that freezing the base mixture prior to baking would cause changes like separation but the good news is that this unlikely with a bit of planning.
It’s quite common for air bubbles to accumulate on the surface of the mixture as it begins to set. The key is to ensure that the base mix is as smooth as possible prior to freezing which helps to minimize this problem.
Simply transfer your base mixture to an airtight container once you’re happy with the consistency. When you’re ready to use the mixture, remove it from the freezer and after allowing it to fully defrost, all you need to do is thoroughly mix it again.
In all likelihood, you won’t have any problems but if you do, an easy trick is to pass the torch over any bubbles appearing on the surface of the mixture after you’ve added it to the ramekins.
What Happens If You Freeze Crème Brûlée?
As long as you take care to properly prepare and store your crème brûlée, you shouldn’t experience any problems when freezing it.
One issue that can arise if your crème brûlée isn’t secured in an airtight container is that it may absorb odors present in your freezer. Unfortunately, you won’t realize this until you defrost your dessert!
Another potential outcome, again because of improper storage, would be the possibility of freezer burn which can definitely alter the taste and texture of a delicate dessert like crème brûlée.
How Do You Reheat Frozen Crème Brûlée?
There’s no need to reheat crème brûlée that you’ve already previously baked and frozen.
Crème brûlée is best enjoyed chilled so after you’ve defrosted it, simply add your caramelized sugar, torch it and you’re all set.
Can You Refreeze Crème Brûlée?
As you probably know, crème brûlée is a delicate dessert, and it’s likely that repeated cycles of freezing, defrosting and refreezing will compromise its texture and consequently its taste.
While it might be possible to do it, the downsides are probably not worth the extra effort.
A better approach would be to only defrost what you plan to consume (or serve) so as not to waste your precious treat!
Can You Eat Frozen Crème Brûlée?
While it’s physically possible to eat frozen crème brûlée, it’s not likely to be all that enjoyable. A better alternative is to allow to thaw completely first prior to eating it.
Can You Put Crème Brûlée in the Freezer to Set?
If you’re crunched for time and want to set your crème brûlée quickly, you can place it in the freezer for a short period.
You really should only do this after you’ve added your mixture to the ramekins and are preparing to torch them soon. In other words, don’t simply toss the mixture into the freezer and hope for the best – portion it into the ramekins first.
Simply place the ramekins in your freezer and wait for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the ramekin dish is cold.
What you want to avoid is freezing the custard itself since this will make it very difficult to apply the caramelized sugar for torching.
While we’ve included as many tips and tricks as we can to help, it’s possible you may encounter problems when freezing your crème brûlée.
Why Is My Crème Brûlée Weeping?
Weeping (also known as syneresis) occurs when moisture escapes from your dessert – it can often appear as pooled liquid.
This is unlikely to happen to you and there is some debate about whether crème brûlée actually weeps.
Much of this depends on the ingredients you’re using.
Baked custards are not known for weeping and are quite stable in cycles of freezing and thawing. If you’ve ever frozen and thawed a cheesecake, then you’ll know what we mean.
Since most crème brûlée recipes use ingredients that tolerate this well, you shouldn’t face this issue. The reason for this is the proteins used in the recipe will coagulate and hold the mixture together.
However, if you’ve used a starch of any kind as a thickening agent, then it is possible you might experience weeping when attempting to thaw your dessert. This is because the starches will form a gel matrix and when frozen, this matrix is transformed into thousands of microscopic ice crystals.
These crystals will pierce the mixture and when thawed, weeping will be the result.
I’m Griffin and I make my living as a freelance writer and wannabe sci fi author. Besides my obsession with words, I have a few others which may or may not include craft beer, backcountry hikes and spending time with loved ones – preferably in that order. Thanks for checking out my work and I hope you enjoy it!