Sage Juniper Winter Forest Creme Brûlée (with video)

Sage Juniper Winter Forest Creme Brûlée has the essence of a forest, using sage and juniper berries steeped before adding to the yolk and cream custard.

Winter Forest Creme Brulee With Sage Juniper and Masic
Winter Forest Creme Brulee With Sage Juniper and Masic

Winter Forest Creme Brûlée

A rich cream custard (dairy or non), with a burnt sugar topping flavored with juniper and sage, dusted with mastic sugar.

All three flavors are known for their winter forest scent and flavor. 

Chefs, as with all artists, are inspired by some of the most peculiar things.

I like to call this creation, “Winter Forest Creme Brûlée”!

Let me tell you how this luscious winter creme brûlée came into being.

Starbucks Inspiration

I walked into a Starbucks shop one day in 2018, and a strange, weird new drink caught my eye.

A latte with a sprinkle of pine sugar on top! 

Someone must have fallen over in the forest while cutting down their Christmas tree, having forgotten to drink their morning cup of joe to start their day!

Starbuck new holiday drink, some say it tastes like dirt while others say it’s like a walk in the forest.

This was the Christmas of 2018. Fast forward several years and I don’t believe they ever served up the Juniper Latte again.

Lucky for me, I moved on and created the most delicious creme brûlée from the concept I encountered that year. 

Sage and Juniper Berries Steeping In Cream
Sage and Juniper Berries Steeping In Cream

Winter Forest Scent and Flavor

The flavors were all coming together in my mind. I

still had a pot of sage growing in my greenhouse.

Sage is a flavor you will find often in my recipes; sauces, sweets and breads:

Winter Forest Sage Juniper and Mastic Creation In My Kitchen

For some weird reason I always have juniper berries in my spice rack.

Juniper berries are what go into the making of gin; add to that some cream, egg yolks, and sugar and you’ve got a spectacular custard. 

The pine sugar? I knew exactly what I would use; Mastic.

Mastic is one of my favorite flavors for Greek pastries.

It’s a resin from a type of evergreen tree, (easy to find on line or a Middle Eastern Market), that has the most exotic flavor and smell. 

Okay. I was all set to go into the kitchen and explore this exotic, woodsy, wintery dessert!

Creme Brûlée

What’s not to love about the simplicity of a three ingredient baked custard.

At its basic form, it is cream, sugar and egg yolks. Anything else can be added but basically that’s it. 

So what’s the big deal about those three ingredients?

Fire! With a dusting of sugar across the top of the custard and a torch, suddenly what is creamy on the inside, just became a sweet brittle crust on top!

Torching Creme Brûlée
Torching Creme Brûlée

Winter Forest Creme Brûlée Flavors

While the classic creme brûlée is made with vanilla, which of course tastes amazing, why stop there? 

Making this winter forest essence for my creme brûlée, ignited the idea for so many other flavors to use.

Turn this classic into the flavor of a Snickerdoodle by adding cinnamon to the sugar before it’s torched. 

A lovely summertime option would be to extract the essence of ‘in season’ lavender flowers into the cream and created a lavender/sugar dust for the top, as in the delicious Lavender Shortbread Cookies.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Lavender Shortbread Cookies

What Else Goes With Creme Brûlée?

Chocolate, of course. Of course a dark rich chocolate can be added into the cream, sugar and egg yolk mixture and baked to a decadent chocolate brûlée. 

Chocolate Custard Pie

Bourbon would also be lovely. Drizzle a little bourbon across the custard after it has baked, sprinkle the sugar on top and torch it. Oh!

Do be careful though. Maybe it would be safer to light a match to it first and let the alcohol burn off and then torch the sugar to create and crust. 

How To Make Winter Forest Creme Brûlée

It’s too bad the original coffee creation at Starbucks didn’t take off, but in truth, it just had one too many conflicting flavors. 

Coffee is already a dominant flavor. Add to that cream, sugar, sage and juniper berries? Nah! Not good. It did taste like dirt. 

Remove the coffee from that combo and you’ve got something really beautiful in both scent and flavor. 

Crushing a few juniper berries and chopping fresh sage, slow simmering in a little cream, then turn off the stove and allow the cream to steep… absolutely spectacular!

Baking Creme Brûlée In A Bath
Baking Creme Brûlée In A Bath

Crushing a lump of mastic, yes it comes in a small lump of clear resin, mix it with sugar and you’ve got more winter forest scent and flavor to create the pine dust brûlée brittle on top.  

Mastic Resin
Mastic Resin

Ingredients Needed

  • Full cream or full fat coconut milk
  • Juniper berries
  • Sage
  • Egg yolks
  • Sugar
  • Mastic – most Greek markets will have mastic, or you can buy it here on Amazon; it lasts forever and is great in cocktails, custards and so many Mediterranean recipes.

Equipment Needed

  • 6-ounce Ramekin cups – these ramekin baking cups are the perfect size for this recipe.
  • Mixing bowl
  • Hand mixer
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Spatula
  • Butane torch – these are very affordable and a fun presentation to use.
  • Mortar and pestle or spice grinder – this small and yet powerful spice grinder is what I use for my hard, dried herbs, but works for coffee beans too.
  • Bath pan
  • Oven
Winter Forest Creme Brûlée Ingredients
Sage Juniper Winter Forest Creme Brûlée Ingredients
Sage Juniper Winter Forest Creme Brûlée

Sage Juniper Winter Forest Creme Brûlée

A rich Creme Brulee with the essence of a forest, using sage and juniper berries steeped before adding to the rich custard of cream or coconut milk.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Sage Juniper Creme Brulee
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
steep and chill: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 4 6-ounce Ramekin baking cups
  • Butane Torch
  • Large baking pan for a bath


  • 2 cups Full Cream or full cream coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp Juniper Berries crushed
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Sage chopped
  • 4 Egg Yolks room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Sugar reserve 1 tablespoon for caramelizing
  • 1 tsp Mastic, optional crushed


  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Place the crushed juniper berries and sage, in a small pot with the cream and bring to a slow boil. Turn off. Let it cool and steep for about 30 minutes. Strain
  • Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl, and whip until light in color.
    Slowly pour in cooled cream mixture while stirring.
  • Pour this mixture into ramekin cups. Place the cups in a baking dish and pour enough water into the baking dish to create a bath for the ramekin cups, about half way up the cups.
  • Bake about an hour or until the center of custard looks fairly firm. It will firm up completely once chilled.
  • Cool for 30 minutes. Place in the fridge for 2 hours.
  • When ready to serve, mix the reserved 1 tablespoon of sugar with the crushed mastic and sprinkle across the tops of the custard.
  • Torch the tops to glaze the sugar, or simply place under the broiler for a short moment, but watch closely so it doesn’t burn.


Sage Juniper Winter Forest Creme Brûlée
Sage Juniper Winter Forest Creme Brûlée
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)
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