Parmesan and thyme crème brûlée

This savoury twist on the classic French dessert combines the rich creaminess of traditional crème brûlée with the sharpness of Parmesan cheese and the earthy aroma of fresh thyme.

Each spoonful is a perfect balance of sweet and savoury notes, topped with a perfectly caramelised crust for that satisfying crackle with every bite.

Parmesan and thyme crème brûlée

Serves: 4

Total Time: 30 mins


  • 500ml (2 cups) fresh cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
  • small handful thyme sprigs + extra, to sprinkle
  • 200g Parmesan, grated
  • 6 egg yolks
  • knob butter, to fry
  • ciabatta, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • pinch salt



Preheat the oven to 180˚C and place 4 individual-serving ramekins/mini serving pots in a large, deep roasting tray. Set aside until needed.


Combine the cream, garlic cloves and thyme sprigs in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the Parmesan and heat, stirring, 3 minutes or until smooth. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk a little of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks and then transfer the egg yolk mixture to the cream in the saucepan. Whisk to combine, then strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl, and discard the garlic and thyme sprigs.


Divide the cream mixture evenly among the ramekins. Pour just enough hot water into the roasting tray to come ¾ up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the custards until just set, but still slightly wobbly in the centre, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and use a kitchen towel to transfer the ramekins from the water bath to a surface.


Place a large frying pan over high heat, add a knob butter and fry the ciabatta slices on both sides to a light golden colour, 2 – 3 minutes. Combine the castor sugar and the salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the 4 custards and use a kitchen blowtorch in a circular motion above the sugar until the sugar melts and caramelises, about 1 – 2 minutes. Serve with the ciabatta toast alongside and garnish the crème brûlées with a sprinkling of thyme.

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ALSO SEE: Fruit crème brûlée tart

Fruit crème brûlée tart

Recipe and styling by Nomvuselelo Mncube
Photograph by Dylan Swart

The post Parmesan and thyme crème brûlée appeared first on Food & Home Magazine.