White Chocolate–Cassis Crème Brûlée

Travis Brust

Williamsburg Inn - Williamsburg, VA

To make this distinctive crème brûlée, chef Travis Brust tucks an intensely jammy cassis syrup under velvety white chocolate custard.


  • 1/2 cup crème de cassis
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup port
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • Kosher salt as needed
  • Generous 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise and scraped
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped white chocolate
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 275ºF. Bring a large kettle of water to a boil.

Place the crème de cassis, 1/4 cup sugar, port, cinnamon, star anise, and a dash of salt in a small pot. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook until the temperature of the syrup reaches 228°F on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Combine 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar with the cream, vanilla bean, and another dash of salt in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk together the eggs and egg yolks in a separate bowl. Slowly add the eggs to the cream, whisking constantly. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve.

Divide the cassis syrup among four 8-ounce ramekins. Follow with the custard. Place the filled ramekins in a pan that’s at least 2 inches deep. Place the pan on the center rack in the oven. Carefully pour some hot water from the kettle into the pan, enough so that the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custard jiggles when gently shaken, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Wrap each individual custard in plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.

To serve, sprinkle each crème brûlée with a tablespoon of the remaining sugar. Burn the sugar with a torch until it’s a deep golden color. Alternately, preheat the broiler and place the ramekins on a baking sheet. Broil the custards until the sugar has caramelized, about 5 to 10 minutes.


4 servings