You’re pregnant and you crave dessert – if it’s got dairy and eggs in it, you’ve done the right thing by checking pregnancy safety first. Creme brulee, leche flan and creme caramel are covered here, in detail.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Creme Brulee, Creme Caramel & Flan? Because they are baked desserts, creme caramel, flan and creme brulee are all safe for pregnant women to eat. The eggs in them are cooked enough to be made safe.
Happy news, right? It’s the nature of this site that I feel like I’m always saying pregnant women can’t have something or that they should avoid it, but hurrah for baked custards – go right ahead!
Here’s some more information on each type of dessert and its safety when you’re pregnant – with tips if you’re making them yourself or ordering them in a restaurant. If baked custards like creme brulee are undercooked, they won’t be safe, so here are some things to note, and common questions.
Do you want to know about regular custard as a dessert – the type you pour? If so, check out my article on is custard safe in pregnancy?
Creme Brulee and Pregnancy
Creme Brulee (meaning ‘burnt cream’ in French) is a baked custard, usually made of egg, cream, and vanilla. It’s baked in a ‘bain-marie’, or water bath. When baked, it’s sprinkled with sugar and then ‘burned’ (usually with a blowtorch) to make a hard, crackable caramel on top.
It’s almost identical to Creme Catalan, which is sometimes flavored with lemon or orange zest. Treat Creme Catalan like Creme Brulee, if you’re wondering if you can have Creme Catalan when you’re pregnant.
Is Creme Brulee Cooked?
During the process of making creme brulee, the eggs are mixed with cream and other flavors and then baked in a water bath. The usual oven temperature for baking creme brulee is anywhere from 300 – 300 F, or 150 – 165 C., for about half an hour, depending on the recipe.
If these instructions are followed, then yes, your creme brulee is cooked.
If that sounds like a pretty low temperature, you’re probably wondering: are the eggs in a creme brulee cooked? Due to the constant, gentle heat of the water bath for an extended time, yes, the eggs are cooked in a creme brulee. Therefore, it’s safe to eat creme brulee if you’re pregnant.
Other things to note about eating creme brulee in pregnancy:
- Adding other ingredients, especially alcohol, may mean that the custard needs a longer cook time. Always check that the egg has set all the way through.
- If you’re eating creme brulee in a restaurant, make sure that it’s set and baked throughout – it shouldn’t be runny in the center. Creamy is OK, but runny is best avoided and should be sent back.
- If you’re making creme brulee at home, choose a recipe that has the eggs cooked at a temperature above 150C (300F) for at least 30 minutes. If your oven has cold spots or an inaccurate temperature, check that your creme brulee is set (with a slight wobble) all the way through.
If you’re not sure if your oven is reaching safe temperatures, get a culinary thermometer – I shortlisted the best ones here.
Store-Bought Creme Brulee Brands
Creme brulee is a very popular dessert to buy in a store, and finish at home by caramelizing the sugar on top. Particularly in the UK, many brands have sprung up recently, so you might be wondering if you can safely eat them if you’re pregnant. Here are the most popular ones:
Bonne Maman Creme Brulee – as a commercial manufacturer, Bonne Maman cook and prepare their creme brulee to a safe temperature. I asked them, and they confirmed all their desserts are made with pasteurized eggs. Bonne Maman Creme Brulee is cooked and safe to eat in pregnancy.
Dr. Oetker’s Creme Brulee (dry mix) – as this is a powdered mix, so long as the milk you add is pasteurized, then it’s safe to eat this type of creme brulee. The same goes for any other brand of powdered mix.
Own brand, Supermarket creme brulee – these creme brulees are safe in pregnancy as they are commercially manufactured and the eggs in them are sufficiently cooked.
Creme Caramel and Pregnancy
Creme Caramel is almost the exact same recipe as creme brulee, except instead of the ‘burnt’ caramelized topping, the caramel is left runny instead.
Creme caramel is safe to eat in pregnancy, if it’s been cooked at the recommended temperatures (at least 300 F / 150C, for 30 minutes, and in a water bath). The runnier caramel topping doesn’t make any difference to its safety in pregnancy, so long as the baked custard part is cooked.
The same rules and tips about creme caramel apply here as to creme brulee, above. Avoid undercooked or runny creme caramels and you should be fine.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Leche Flan?
Leche Flan, often referred to as just ‘Flan’, is a Spanish variant of the same style of dessert as creme caramel and creme brulee. It’s also a set custard that contains eggs, but usually contains condensed or evaporated milk, too.
Leche Flan is safe to eat in pregnancy if it’s fully cooked (or baked). Like creme brulee or creme caramel, it’s set in the oven at low temperature. All the tips above that apply to creme brulee also apply to leche flan.
Is Flan Cooked? (are the eggs in flan cooked, too?)
If you’re wondering: are the eggs in flan cooked? I’m happy to tell you that yes, the eggs in flan are cooked to the point that they’re safe to eat in pregnancy. Flan is usually baked in the oven at a high enough temperature to set the eggs (usually over 150 c or 300f), just like its creme caramel and Brulee counterparts.
The recipe for flan is also very similar to creme caramel or Brulee. The only difference is that sweetened, condensed milk or evaporated milk are used in flan recipes to make it richer, and to give it a thicker texture. Both these types of milk are pasteurized products (usually found in cans or tins) and are also safe in pregnancy.
Always check that the flan is cooked and set throughout, and avoid any flan that is runny (or has a runny middle). The caramel topping that flan often has is safe in pregnancy.
Overall, flan, creme brulee and creme caramel can all be safely enjoyed in pregnancy, in almost all their forms, whether homemade, in a restaurant, or bought in a store.
If you’re making such baked custard desserts yourself, just be sure to “cook” the set custard (and the eggs in it) properly by choosing a recipe that uses a temperature over 150f, for a long enough time – usually over half an hour.
As with many sugary, rich desserts, sweet treats like flan, creme caramel and creme brulee should be enjoyed in moderation in pregnancy, as they’re pretty high in sugar and calories. However, there’s no reason not to enjoy them as an occasional treat. If you have diabetes, check with your health professional first.
If you’re wondering about the other types of custard desserts, I’ve also written a guide to frozen custard in pregnancy and a thorough article on whether or not custard (the pourable kind) is safe, too.