Add Egg Whites To Crème Brûlée For A Firmer Texture

Crème brûlée, the timeless French delicacy, has achieved elevated dessert status for good reason. When properly prepared, it always delivers on flavor, presentation, and texture. While this dessert may seem daunting to prepare at home, it's actually quite feasible to execute with a few hacks. For starters, you can ditch the blow torch and add a thin layer of caramel on top for that same crunchy effect. (Or go with Ina Garten's tip for perfect crème brûlée using the broiler setting on your oven). Then you can slightly tweak your ingredients — with the addition of egg whites — to achieve a firm yet delicious final result.

Beyond the basic crème brûlée ingredients of heavy cream, vanilla, egg yolks, sugar, and salt, egg whites (in addition to the yolks) can deliver a more delightful texture to your dessert. Whereas most crème brûlée recipes focus on strictly working with egg yolks, the simple hack of incorporating some white — aka the protein of the egg — can pleasantly firm up your custard. Egg whites are versatile baking ingredients, and depending on the recipe, they can serve a unique purpose in enhancing the final product. When egg whites are heated (as they are in the crème brûlee-making process), they transform into a toughening agent that gives your crème brûlée its added structure.

How to execute on this egg white hack

Since baking is a science that usually requires precision, we aren't recommending that you go rogue and swap all your yolks for whites. Rather, the proteins in an egg white — when added with the yolks — will create a firmer base that continues to hold shape once your crème brûlée has set and is ready to serve. Additionally, when you work with the full egg, instead of just the yolk, you avoid the risk of your crème brûlée becoming overly firm. Combining a whole egg with the extra yolks will result in a structured yet buoyant and creamy texture.

To make your next crème brûlée with the addition of egg whites, you will still add all your egg ingredients at the same time, just with the inclusion of one full egg with four yolks (traditional recipes call for five yolks). From there, follow the rest of your recipe as outlined, and then patiently wait for your ramekins to cook, cool, and firm to perfection before serving.

If you're wanting crème brûlée (we don't blame you) but don't have the time or willpower to go full French pastry chef mode, you've got options. You can try this 3-ingredient crème brûlee recipe for a streamlined yet creamy and delicious dessert.