My preference is for pie in the morning. A deep dish loaded with seasonal fruit lightly sweetened with sugar wrapped in a buttery crust – a perfectly balanced meal I’d say.

I often wake up with the first thought of the morning leaning towards pastries. At home scones are practically a sixth member of the family. Softly sweet, tender and flaky. Warm with a bit of jam running down it’s sugary top.

If I’m not quite awake and ready to cut in cold butter with flour than I simply walk around the corner to our neighborhood bakery and choose from an assortment of fresh baked goods.


With the lines happily blurred between breakfast and dessert in my mind it’s no wonder why I was so drawn to this breakfasty version of Creme Brulee.

Tangy and thick Greek yogurt is given the brulee treatment with a light dusting of sugar.


Let’s start from the beginning. The idea came from Nigel Slater, as many of my latest inspirations have. His book, Real Fast Food, is one of few books that I cook from again and again. Many pages are stuck together, glued shut from random cooking splatterings. Many pages are marked with recipes and ideas to try and I’ve had the book for not quite three weeks.  In this small photo-less book there are over 350 recipes – all of them simple, using few ingredients with most of which you probably have on hand. Some are mere guidelines as is the case of the one we are discussing currently.

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If you are using the broiler, stick the dish of sugared yogurt directly under the preheated broiler for about 2-3 minutes, or until the sugar caramelizes into a golden crust.

Top your breakfast brulee with more fresh berries. Now, of course this could also double as an elegant dessert. Simple, subtly sweet yet fancy and sophisticated as things are when they have a French name associated with them.

*For those who have asked (Hi, Crystal!) This is the torch I use.

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Yogurt Brulee

Nigel says to use a small ramekin or a shallow dish that may be the perfect home for a quiche on another morning. In the bottom of your dish place a handful of berries. I happened to have raspberries, Nigel had blackberries. In an act of defiance I covered my berries with a few passes of honey. On top of the berries there is yogurt. Level the top with a fine coat of sugar. Torch or broil to get a caramel, crisp cap. From my formal brulee training we would coat the custard with three fine layers of sugar torching in between each passing. The result was a deeply caramelized, sturdy and dense sweet layer that shattered with a mighty plunge of the spoon. So that’s what I did.

60 Responses to “Nigel’s Yogurt Brulee”

  1. Maia

    I eat greek yogurt with berries for breakfast almost every morning – but like you, I yearn for sweeter, more dessert-like breakfasts. What an easy and elegant way to spruce up my usual “healthy” breakfast into something more exciting, but practically as easy. What a little sugar and torching could do… thank you for sharing this.

  2. A Plum By Any Other Name

    I have SO been loving your suggestions. I made the potato cake over the weekend, in defiance of Hurricane Irene. It is a stunner. Except I didn’t have butter, so I had to settle for olive oil. Still wonderful. I’ve been enjoying the decadent leftovers. Now I need to try the vanilla tomatoes and yogurt brulee. Lovely, just lovely!

  3. Crystal Malek

    Beautiful, and delightful idea!! Can you recommend a good torch? I tried to do creme brulee using my broiler, but it was slow to heat up so ended up melting everything, instead of quickly browning the top. Still tasted good, but was more like soup. I’d love to get a torch but not sure how to pick a good one. Suggestions?

  4. Snippets of Thyme

    Your yogurt brulees looks so sweet and delicious. I made creme brulees for the first time this year. It was so much fun to delve into something I thought I would never try. I am in love with Dannon’s Greek yogurt (with honey on the bottom) right now so I would love the added sugar topping.

  5. la domestique

    Um…this looks fantastic! I do love Nigel Slater’s books and will have to try this recipe. Your pictures make it irresistible.

  6. Jennifer (Delicieux)

    This looks fantastic!!!! I love the idea of a yogurt brulee, after all, the best bit of a brulee is the topping, and a yogurt base is a much healthier option. I will have to try this.

  7. Martha

    Wow! A cookbook without pictures?!? It sounds exciting but I am soooooo glad you put pictures up with your recipes. they make my mouth water.

  8. Natashia@foodonpaper

    Amazing! If I ever needed an excuse to buy a cooking torch this would be it! I’m the same as you though, I wake up with craving’s of sweet things, like scones and pastries, but usually settle for a really good coffee 🙂

  9. Bonnie

    Love this idea and I will try it immediately. Still with the sugar, I bet it’s a much better option than my desire for scone after scone!

  10. Mike

    Ashley, I’m a big fan of Nigel Slater! And this looks amazing. Yet I’m kicking myself for not thinking of this already. Another great post. Love the clicks.

  11. Katrina

    I’m with you! Pie for breakfast is an awesome idea. This is a great variation to creme brulee. Yum!

  12. Lucia

    Oh, this week I’ve been longing for a breakfast pie. Now I’ll be longing for your crème brulée.

  13. Piper @ GotItCookIt

    I just finished my greek yogurt and homemade nectarine jam for breakfast… now I’ve got some ideas to spruce up tomorrow’s breakfast. Love this idea!

  14. Yasmeen

    A wonderful idea. I start many mornings with yogurt (and have it with dinner all the time!). Haven’t had it brulee’d, so you’ve inspired me to try this 🙂

  15. Victor

    Yum! Gonna have to try this healthier take on my favorite dessert. Thanks.

  16. Emma

    I will defy the odds and try strawberries, AND add yogurt. And I will defy this post’s raison d’être and make myself a ramekin for dessert, rather than breakfast. Tasty tasty!

  17. Emme @Food Samba

    I’m so happy your blog through twitter!! I am quite obssesed with greek yogurt and creme brulee is my all-time favorite dessert, so you’ve got me hooked with this post. Love it, and looking forward for more 🙂 xoxo

  18. Sara

    I absolulely love greek yogurt, and love creme brulee. The two together? I’m going to have to try this.

  19. Lystessa

    Just tried this with my homemade yogurt (strained) and strawberries. YUM!

    I did it in the toaster oven. Now I want a kitchen torch, heh.

  20. Alina

    Здравствуйте! The only modifications I made were mixing the berries and adding some homemade muesli into the yogurt. The yogurt creme brulee is perfect for making ahead of time, similar to traditional creme brulee. I didn t add honey because I think the raisins and sugar topping are sweet enough. Be sure to check out my creme brulee recipe for more detailed instructions on how to caramelize the sugar. And feel free to substitute the muesli with your favorite granola.