We Get Letters – v. 20: How long will Crème Brûlée Store?

Mary Ann writes in -

Kate, you have a great website. Do you know how long I can keep Crème brûlée refrigerated? I am having guests for dinner this Sunday and the following Saturday. If I make the Crème brûlée on Saturday, would it be good to serve the following Saturday?

Kind Regards,
Mary Ann

Thanks for writing in Mary Ann. You’ve brought up one of my favorite desserts. With the cool custard beneath and the carmelized sugar on top, it’s one of only a handful of desserts that I believes demands near-perfection in order to deliver that “blissful shudder of the spine” (which I believe was an Emerson, Lake and Powell album title, or at the very least should have been).

To answer your question, a week would be way too long to store made Crème brûlée. Although there’s no definitive set period of time that could refrigerate this dessert, the eggs and cream within it certainly make it a volitile playground for bacteria.

On top of that, it would certainly affect the taste of the Crème brûlée as well. Unless it’s stored in a glass dish or ceramic dish and wrapped very well with plastic wrap, you run a risk of having other foods in your fridge permeating the subtlety of the dessert.

One might think freezing is a viable alternative as well, but you’ll see the folly of that once you try to thaw the creme. It will become cracked and lose a fair amount of water.

Really, the best answer is to store it no longer than two days prior to when your going to serve. In my opinion, even that’s pushing it. Most custard desserts simply taste better when they’re served within a few hours after creation.

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