Crème brûlée is a French dessert with a rich, milky custard base and a sweet, crunchy caramel on top. This dessert may look fancy but it’s surprisingly easy to make from scratch! But what if you made a too-large batch of this dessert? Can you freeze crème brûlée? Despite its delicate texture, crème brûlée is a cinch to freeze. It also keeps so well in the freezer.

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Because crème brûlée is made with dairy ingredients, it has a short shelf life. When kept in the fridge, crème brûlée will only stay fresh for 2 to 4 days. But when kept in the freezer, its shelf life is extended to 6 months or so. The key to maintaining the integrity of this dessert is the temperature. Crème brûlée should be kept at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit to extend its shelf life. The steady temperature minimizes the risk of texture or flavor changes too.

Now the problem with freezing crème brûlée is its tendency to “weep” once it’s been defrosted. Weeping is a term used in cooking to describe liquid oozing out of a defrosted food. There are many reasons why crème brûlée generates a clear liquid after it’s been defrosted. Certain ingredients – such as thickeners or food starch – may cause the dessert to weep. Coagulating proteins could be the cause of weeping too.  Simple moisture migration or condensation may also cause weeping.

The good news is, you can reduce the likelihood of weeping by baking the dessert prior to freezing. Also, do not overcook or undercook the base to inhibit weeping. The base has to set properly otherwise, ice crystals will form within the custard. The water crystals will alter the consistency of the base and cause weeping once they melt. Let’s move on to the step by step guide on how can you freeze crème brûlée:

Image used under Creative Commons from jules

How to Freeze Crème Brûlée?

Crème brûlée has the tendency to separate when it is not prepared well prior to freezing. If you’re making this dessert from scratch, it’s best to freeze the custard as soon as possible. We don’t recommend freezing a fully assembled crème brûlée, caramel crust and all. The base should be frozen as is in individual containers. The base must be set properly too. It shouldn’t be too firm nor too soft prior to freezing or the consistency won’t be the same once the custard has been defrosted.

Just pour the base into a large ramekin, bake it, and then wait for it to cool down completely. Once the base cools down, cover the ramekin with tin foil or cling wrap. Secure the wrapping with tape or rubber bands so it doesn’t move once left in the freezer. Place the ramekin in a resealable plastic container, squeezing as much air as you can prior to sealing. Write the storage date and then stick in the freezer.

For leftover crème brûlée, there’s no need to transfer the dessert to a separate container. The instructions above apply for leftovers served in ramekins. For prepared crème brûlée bought from the supermarket, there’s no need to prep the product unless the dessert is packed in glass containers. Glass will shatter in freezing temps so you have no choice but to transfer the dessert to a freezer-friendly container.

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How to Defrost Frozen Crème Brûlée?

Thawing crème brûlée is easy; just transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the dessert to thaw for several hours. Once the custard softens, sprinkle the top with sugar then torch it to form the caramel crust. For leftover crème brûlée, just leave the dessert to thaw in the fridge, this dessert does not require reheating at all.

Summary

For a dessert this delicate, it’s quite surprising that crème brûlée freezes so well. Now that you know how can you freeze crème brûlée, you can buy your favorite dessert in bulk and store some in the freezer for future snacking!