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Can I Use Milk Instead of Heavy Cream for Creme Brulee?

by Wendy K. Leigh, studioD

Altering the dairy products in dessert dishes is sometimes tricky, particularly when it comes to texture and density. Heavy cream is a crucial component of creme brulee recipes, so replacing it with milk is not a good idea. However, there are other options that minimize the negative effects of removing the heavy cream from the recipe.

The Real Thing

Creme brulee, also known as burnt creme, is typically made with granulated sugar, egg yolks, vanilla extract and heavy cream. The consistency of creme brulee is altered considerably if you use lower fat versions of cream, such as ordinary milk. The much higher fat content of heavy cream makes it more stable and less likely to curdle when mixed with other ingredients and cooked for long periods of time. To keep the expected density and rich flavor of creme brulee, it is best not to substitute milk for the required cream.

If You Must

If you must remove the cream for health or dietary reasons, try using plain, nonfat Greek yogurt in its place. The thickness of the yogurt is less likely than milk to alter the texture of the creme brulee. Another option is to substitute half-and-half for a portion of the heavy cream, which only slightly alters the overall consistency.

About the Author

Wendy K. Leigh is a travel writer and photojournalist from Seattle. She is the Editor of Islands America, a travel website for visiting islands within the United States. She also writes about home design, food and historical architecture. Leigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Washington.

Photo Credits

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