Hello friends! Today I am going to show you how to make these amazing Creme Brûlée Macarons. They are filled with French Buttercream and Pastry Cream, and the top is brûléed to perfection, which makes these macarons taste exactly like creme brûlée.
Make sure to watch the video on this page or on YouTube, showing you exactly how to make the Creme Brûlée macarons.
This Creme Brûlée flavor is a long time coming. It was one of the first macaron flavors I’ve made years ago. But for some reason I didn’t make a recipe for the blog for a while.
Most Creme Brûlée Macaron recipes out there actually use caramel in the filling. I didn’t want to use caramel for my Creme Brûlée Macaron because there isn’t any caramel sauce in actual creme brûlée.
Creme brûlée is simply baked custard, which is why I decided to fill my macarons with custard cream, and the frosting that comes super close to creme brûlée taste: French Buttercream.
A very cool thing about these Creme Brûlée Macaron recipe is that we will use about 3 whole eggs, no waste of yolks or saving for later.
That’s because to obtain 100 grams of egg whites you need about 3 eggs, and for the pastry cream you will need one egg yolk, and two egg yolks for the French Buttercream. Voila, no waste!
If you are always wondering what to do with the leftover egg yolks from macarons, I am coming up with a compilation soon to show you the wonderful uses for those leftover yolks of yours.
Now here is another question I just see arising: how to make the brûléed top without a torch?
On the recipe below I am leaving a suggestion. You can try to use a broiler.
To make the brûléed top without a torch, brush the surface of the shells with a tiny bit of water, and then sprinkle some sugar on top.
Then insert the shell in the oven under the broiler. I recommend experimenting with just one shell, in order to see if it will work with your broiler.
Also, make sure to use the broiler method with the unfilled macarons. If you insert the whole macaron sandwich in the oven it has the risk of melting the frosting.
Now, as you can see on the video on YouTube or on this page, I’ve torched the tops of the macarons with the filled shells. I prefer to torch them right before serving, so it is still crunchy.
Make sure the frosting is completely chilled before torching the top of the macarons.
Tips and Tricks about these Creme Brûlée Macarons
- I am adding vanilla beans to the shells, you can totally skip it and keep the shells plain.
- About vanilla beans, I am also adding some to the pastry cream. You can feel free to skip the vanilla bean seeds and add an extra 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract to the pastry cream.
- A little bit of water goes a LONG way when brushing the top of the shells. Go easy, you don’t want to soak the shells, but just make them minimally moist in order for the sugar to stick to it.
- Don’t burn the macarons, just a bit of torching will do. Burnt sugar will taste bitter.
- For best results brûlée the top of the shells only before serving. It will be totally fine to sit in the fridge and even in the freezer with the shells already brûléed, but for the best crunchy results, you want to brûlée the shells right before serving.
- Use a hand mixer and not a stand mixer to make the French Buttercream. It’s such a small amount of yolk and sugar that the whisk won’t reach the bottom of the bowl in order to properly whip the yolks in the stand mixer. So a hand mixer will yield the best results.
- If the French Buttercream isn’t coming together, place it in the fridge for 10 minutes and then continue to whip. Sometimes the issue is that the yolks weren’t cool enough before you started adding the butter, or the butter was too soft. In that case, a bit of chilling time should help.
If you enjoy these Creme Brûlée Macarons, here are some more macaron ideas and flavors you might enjoy:
- Tiramisu Macarons
- Salted Caramel Macarons
- French Vanilla Macarons
- Caramel Popcorn Macarons
- Caramelized White Chocolate Macarons
- White Chocolate Macadamia Macarons
- Earl Grey Macarons
- Vanilla Bean Macarons
- Cinnamon Roll Macarons
- S’mores Macarons
- Coconut Macarons
And for the complete list of my macaron flavors please click here.
For macaron tips, tricks, science behind macarons, visit Macaron School.
If you make this recipe tag me on instagram or leave a comment below! I love hearing from you!
Thanks for reading!
Creme Brûlée Macarons
Vanilla Bean Shells
egg white powder
(optional) read notes
vanilla bean pod
- Food coloring if using
I didn’t use any
Vanilla Bean Custard
vanilla bean split and seeded
French Vanilla Buttercream
softened (85 grams)
For the top
Vanilla Bean Shells
- Before you start, get all of the ingredients ready. Prepare a large piping bag, fitted with a large round tip, I use a 1/2” diameter tip. Set aside.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.
- Measure out all of the ingredients.
- Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together. Set it aside.
- Whisk the sugar and the egg white powder (if using) in a bowl, and place it over a pan with barely simmering water. Add the egg whites to the sugar and whisk the mixture until frothy and the sugar is completely melted. It will take a couple of minutes. You can test by touching the mixture between your fingers, and if you feel any sugar granules just keep whisking the mixture over the water bath.
- Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the simmering water because you don’t want the whites to cook.
- Also, don’t overheat the sugar syrup, this may cause issues down the line, such as wrinkly macarons.
- Transfer the syrup to the bowl of a stand mixer.
- With the whisk attachment, start whisking mixture on low for about 30 seconds, then gradually start increasing speed to medium. Whisk on medium for one to two minutes, until the mixture is white and starting to become fluffy. Raise the speed to high, or medium-high and whisk for a few minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Best way to check this is to keep your eye on the whites. Once they get glossy and you start seeing streaks formed by the whisk, it might be time to stop.
- Whisk until stiff peaks have formed. When you pull your whip up, the peak should be stiff and shooting straight up, with possibly a slight bend at the top, but not bending down to the side.
Pour the sifted powdered sugar and almond flour into the stiff meringue.
At this point, also add the vanilla bean seeds if using.
- Start folding gently forming a letter J with a spatula.
Add the food coloring at this point, if using. I decided to keep my shells white.
- How to know when to stop folding the batter: It’s time to stop folding when the batter is glossy and has a thick and flowing consistency. There are several ways to test this.
- First, pick up some batter with the spatula and try to draw a figure 8 with the batter that is dripping off the spatula. If you can form several 8 figures without the batter breaking up, that’s one indication that it might be ready.
- There’s another test you can do. I call it the Teaspoon test.
- Grab a teaspoon of batter and spoon onto the parchment paper or silicon mat. Wait a minute to see how it behaves.
- If the batter stays stiff, forming a point and doesn’t spread out, fold a little bit more, about 3 folds.
- Test again.
- Once the batter spreads out a bit and starts to look glossy and smooth on top, on the parchment paper, it’s ready.
- You don’t want your batter to be too runny either. So be careful not to overmix. It’s always best to undermix and test several times until the proper consistency has been achieved.
- When you hold the spatula with batter on top of the bowl and the batter falls off the spatula slowly but effortlessly the batter is ready. The batter will keep flowing off the spatula non-stop, but not too quickly.
- Transfer the batter to the piping bag.
- Place the piping bag directly 90 degrees over the center of each macaron template. Apply gentle pressure and carefully pipe for about 3 seconds, and then quickly pull the bag up twisting slightly.
- Once you’ve piped as many circles as you could, bang the trays against the counter a few times each. This will release air bubbles that are in the batter and prevent your macaron shells from cracking.
- Use a toothpick to pop any air bubbles in the surface of the shells.
- Let the trays sit for a while so the shells will dry out a little bit. I usually leave about 20-40 minutes, depending on how humid the day is. You’ll know they’re ready when you gently touch the surface of a macaron and it seems dry.
- Pre-heat the oven to 325ºF.
- Bake one tray at a time.
- Bake for 5 minutes, rotate tray.
- Bake for 5 more minutes. Rotate again.
- I bake each tray for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- When baked, the macarons will have a deeper color and formed feet. If you try to move a macaron, it shouldn’t feel jiggly. If the macaron is still jiggly, keep baking.
- Remove from the oven and bake the other tray.
- Let the macarons cool down before proceeding with the filling.
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
- Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and use the back of a knife to scrape the seeds off.
- Whisk the milk and the vanilla bean seeds (and you can add the pod in there too to help infuse the milk).
- Bring mixture almost to a boil. Turn the heat off. Let it infuse for about 15 minutes, this is optional, but helps with the delicious vanilla flavor.
- If you let your milk mixture infuse, you want to quickly re-heat it for just a little bit before proceeding. Remove the vanilla bean pod if you added it.
- Whisk the egg yolk, plus the sugar, and the cornstarch in a bowl.
- Whisk until mixture is very lightened in color, and a bit runny.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of the hot milk to egg yolks, while whisking non-stop.
- Add another couple of tablespoons. Keep doing this while you whisk the mixture. You are tempering the eggs, and preventing them from cooking, by slowly raising the temperature.
- At the end you can just pour the rest of the milk in.
Pour the milk/yolk mixture back in the pot where you heated the milk, through a fine mesh sieve to catch any bits of eggs that may have cooked.
- Then, use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir the custard over medium-low heat. Don’t stop stirring, don’t look away, you don’t want it to overcook, or let the custard stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Keep cooking and stirring until it starts to get kind of lumpy, and then it will start to get really thick and smooth. When the whole mixture is creamy, smooth, and thick, you can turn the heat off.
- Transfer the custard to a heat-proof bowl, add the vanilla extract. If you didn’t use any vanilla bean, feel free to add an additional 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract to the custard.
- Cover the custard with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream. Place it in the fridge until completely cooled down.
- Start by bringing a small pot with about 1 inch of water to a boil.
In the bowl of your mixer place yolks, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until combined over the pan of boiling water.
- Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water at all.
- Whisk mixture until yolks reach 155F.
- Transfer bowl to the mixer stand, and start whisking the yolk-sugar mixture at high speed until fluffy and stiff, for 7-8 minutes.
- Add butter to the mixer, one tablespoon at a time, scraping the bowl if necessary.
- Mixture should come together and form a creamy, smooth, yellowish, thick buttercream.
- Pipe a ring of French Buttercream around the edges of the bottom macaron shells.
- Pipe or spoon some of the custard in the middle of the buttercream.
- Top with another shell.
- Chill the macarons in the fridge for a couple of hours before bruleeing the top, which will help the frosting not start to melt because of the shells getting a bit hot as they get torched.
- Brush a tiny amount of water on the top of a macaron shell. Don’t soak the shell, a little water will go a long way.
- Then sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of sugar on top of the shell.
- Use a torch to caramelize the sugar.
- Let the macarons sit in the fridge overnight before serving.
- Store the macarons in the fridge for up to 6 days.
- You can freeze these macarons for up to 1 month.
Vinegar: Before starting make sure to wipe down the bowls, whisks, silicone mats and everything you are going to use with vinegar, to avoid any grease particles of coming into contact with the meringue and batter.
Vanilla bean: The vanilla bean in the shells is totally optional, you can just leave it out if you don’t want to use it.
Egg white powder: Egg White Powder is not the same as meringue powder. Egg White Powder is made of only egg whites. They help with getting fuller shells, and specially when adding a lot of food coloring to the batter, because they make the shells dry faster. I recommend experimenting with it if you can find it. I use 4 grams for each 100 grams of egg whites.
Food coloring: I didn’t add any food coloring, but if you do make sure to use gel food coloring, not liquid. If you are a beginner macaron baker, I recommend going easy on the food coloring, as it can alter the batter a lot, and it can take extra mixing time, specially if you continue to add the food coloring as you do the macaronage.
Scale: Please use a scale when measuring the ingredients for accuracy.
Macaron amount: It will vary greatly depending on how big you pipe the shells, and on how runny or thick the batter is.
Baking time/temperature: Baking time and temperature will vary according to your own oven. I recommend experimenting with your oven to find out the best time, temperature, position of the baking tray. Read more about how to figure out your oven here.
Oven thermometer: Make sure to have an oven thermometer to bake macarons. It’s one of the most important things about making macarons. Home ovens aren’t accurate at all at telling the temperature, and even a slight 5 degree difference can make or break your whole batch.
Tray rotation: Lots of bakers don’t have to rotate the trays 180 degrees in the oven every 5 minutes, but I do have to with my oven, or I will get lopsided macarons. Please adjust this according to your oven.
Broiler: If you don’t have a torch, you could try using a broiler to toast the top of the macarons. This is a bit risky, because it might actually burn the shells depending on how far the shells are from the broiler, and how strong the broiler is, so I recommend experimenting with one or two shells before putting all the shells under the broiler.
Also, only use the broiler with the shells without filling, otherwise the filling will inevitably melt. If using the broiler method, first caramelize the shells, and then you can fill the bottom shells with the buttercream and custard and top with the caramelized shells.
French Buttercream troubleshooting: If the French Buttercream is too soupy or not coming together, insert the bowl in the fridge for about 10 minutes and then try whipping again. You will need a hand mixer to make this buttercream because of the low quantity of ingredients. If you choose to use a stand mixer, the whisk won’t reach the bottom of the bowl and won’t whip the yolks properly. You can use a stand mixer, but I would double the recipe.
Troubleshooting: Please visit this article for troubleshooting tips.