Pudding vs. Crème Brûlée: Differences & Which Is Better?

pudding vs creme brulee
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Who doesn’t love the famous Crème Brulee, one of the creamiest and most delicious desserts? What about good old pudding, bringing back the spirit of holidays and childhood? However, despite their widespread popularity, many people seem to have trouble setting the two desserts apart. So, what are the main differences between pudding and crème brûlée, and which one is considered better?

A pudding is a dish with a texture similar to mousse but thickened with some kind of starch, while a crème brûlée is a custard-type dessert containing eggs and is topped with a distinctive sugary crust.

An old saying goes by the verse that if a dessert contains eggs, it’s custard, and if it has starch, it’s pudding. However, it’s not that simple, and the world of desserts is much more versatile. Continue reading this review to clear up all your dilemmas at once.

What Is Pudding?

What would the world be like if chocolate pudding didn’t exist? But, as baking books multiply, hearty homemade pudding has become a lost craft, appearing only in snack packs or on restaurant dessert platters.

A proper pudding is prepared with sweetened milk or cream base that has been thickened with a gelatinized starch. In this step, cornstarch and flour are used the most often. The last step is cooking the mixture in a saucepan over the fire. 

This popular dish is good for many occasions, as it may be used in a trifle, a parfait, or simply eaten on its own.

pudding vs creme brulee

What Is Crème Brûlée?

The name “crème brûlée” comes from the French word “Brulee,” which means “burnt custard.” Having that in mind, it’s easy to recognize this delicious dessert, which is defined as a baked custard dish with a crunchy, thin layer of caramelized sugar crust. 

Essentially, crème brûlée is made with a pudding-like custard foundation and a hard caramelized coating of sugar that is sprinkled on top and then broiled with a torch. Although vanilla is most commonly used for the custard foundation, other ingredients such as orange liqueur, fruit, chocolate, or others could be used instead. 

It’s important to remember that crème brûlée is always made with fresh milk, sugar, and whole eggs. The cream is sometimes used instead of milk to get a smooth texture and achieve perfect creaminess in the custard-making process. 

Crème brûlée can be served at room temperature, cold, or even hot. In any case, the ultimate result will be a silky smooth, creamy, and sweet custard with a glossy texture, perfect for capping off a delectable feast.

pudding vs creme brulee

What Are the Differences Between Crème Brûlée and Pudding?

One of the key differences between crème brûlée and pudding refers to their ingredients. Crème brûlée is a custard dessert, with a base recipe calling for a creamy mixture of egg yolks, sugar, and dairy. On the other hand, Pudding is made with sweetened milk or cream base that is thickened with gelatinized starch, and it usually doesn’t contain eggs. If you compare these desserts to panna cotta, pudding is more like it than crème brûlée.

Moreover, crème brûlée is quite time-consuming to prepare, with many crème brûlée recipes requiring three or more hours, while preparing homemade pudding usually doesn’t take more than 15 minutes. It’s also important to mention that pudding is usually prepared on the stovetop, while the procedure for making crème brûlée is similar to making flan and involves a water bath. 

The topping is another feature that distinguishes each dessert. Crème brûlée has a hard, torched sugar crust that many people recognize as the dish’s trademark, and it provides a pleasant crack when you delve into it with a spoon, revealing the delicious custard underneath. Pudding doesn’t have caramel crust, and it is soft when it’s hot. As it cools down and the milk evaporates, so-called “pudding skin” in the form of a thin, rubbery layer will form on top of your dessert.

There’s also the issue of texture to consider. The primary distinction is that pudding thickens using starch, whereas crème brûlée is a liquid thickened or set by the coagulation of egg protein. Finally, crème brûlée has a firmer texture than pudding.

When it comes to flavors, crème brûlée always comes in one flavor, and that’s vanilla. In contrast, you can find various flavors of pudding. The most popular are chocolate and vanilla, but you can also find strawberry, caramel, banana, etc.

Crème Brûlée Vs. Pudding: Which One Is Better?

The allure of pudding cannot be emphasized enough. At first glance, it appears to be homey and old-fashioned, but dress it up properly, and you’ll have a dessert that will make everyone go crazy. 

Of course, the other little pudding secret is that it’s gluten-free by nature. Pudding is a welcome treat for celiacs and gluten-intolerant people, as long as it’s produced with gluten-free components, just like ice cream. It’s also quite simple to make and doesn’t require many hours spent in the kitchen. 

Crème Brulee is undoubtedly one of the creamiest desserts out there, and since it’s not that easy to make, successful preparation will certainly impress your guests. Depending on your own taste and dietary habits, you can’t go wrong with making either recipe. Whether you’re holding an upmarket dinner party or just looking to satisfy your sweet cravings, both Crème Brulee and pudding are excellent choices.

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