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Parmesan rosemary crème brûlée

A savoury creme brûlée! Instead of a burnt sugar crust to top the savoury, chilled creme, each is topped with a frico—a thin and easy-baked cheese crisp. Creme brûlée is a favourite sweet dessert, but this is a savoury version to serve as an appetizer. 




  • 40 g freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary


  • 250 ml whipping cream
  • 250 ml half-&-half cream
  • Shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 30 ml coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 60 g chunk parmesan cheese
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.


  1. Toss the grated Parmesan with the rosemary. Use two and a half-inch round cookie cutter to help portion the cheese. Place the cutter onto the baking tray and spoon two tablespoons into the center of the cutter, spreading it to the edges. Lift up the cutter. Repeat with the remaining cheese, leaving at least two inches in between each portion. (You should have eight fricos.) 
  2. Bake for about five minutes, until a light golden brown. To add a curve to the frico, use a palette knife to gently lift the hot frico onto a rolling pin or another curved surface to cool. TIP: Use only freshly grated Parmesan in this recipe. For a really nice lacy frico, grate a chunk of fresh Parmesan (or Parmigiano-Reggiano, if you can) against the side of your box grater with the small holes. You will have extra frico, so pick the prettiest ones for your crème brûlées and reserve the rest in case one break—or just eat them as a snack (which I inevitably do).
  3. Arrange four five oz ramekins or flat crème brûlée dishes in a large pan where the sides of the pan are higher than the ramekins.
  4. Heat the whipping cream, half-&-half, shallots, rosemary, and Parmesan chunks (or rinds) in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Do not let the cream simmer or reduce—this step is to infuse the flavour into the cream. You can use any rinds and old bits of Parmesan you have tucked in the back of your fridge for this step. Flavouring the cream is key, not the freshness or texture of the cheese.


  1. Whisk the egg yolks and whole egg together in a bowl. Strain the cream into a separate bowl or pitcher. 
  2. Pour the hot cream over the eggs, whisking constantly until combined. Ladle or pour the custard into the ramekins.

Bake and Serve 

  1. Pour boiling water carefully around the brûlée dishes in the pan, so that the water comes to no higher than the level of the custard. Carefully place the pan in the oven. Bake the crème brûlées for 15 to 18 minutes (or a few minutes longer for regular ramekins), until the custard no longer jiggles when gently tapped. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the crème brûlées cool in the water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the crème brûlées from the water bath to cool on the rack completely.
  2. Chill the crème brûlées for at least two hours before serving.
  3. Place a frico on top of each crème brûlée and serve.

TIP: Both the fricos and the crème brûlées can be prepared a day ahead. Store the fricos in an airtight container and the crème brûlées, uncovered, in the fridge overnight.

Excerpted from Anna Olson’s Baking Wisdom: The Complete Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Make You a Better Baker (with 150+ Recipes) by Anna Olson. Copyright © 2023 Olson Food Concepts Inc. Photography by Janis Nicolay. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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