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Monday, April 11, 2016

Crème Brulée with Sea Salt Chocolate

Inspiration:  My mom ordering crème brulée every time we go out for dinner and then sharing it with everyone.

I used to make this recipe a long time ago.  I am always surprised at how easy it is to make but how truly decadent and delicious it is.  For me, it is a no fail desert recipe. 

When I entertain, I spend most of my energy on the savoury part of the meal and desert is not usually my main focus;  it has to be good but also quick and easy.

That being said, I do remember one day in cooking school when one of the pastry chefs told us that if you serve a spectacular meal and end with lacklustre desert, this is what people will tend to remember of their dining experience.  Taking that to heart, in comes this classic recipe for crème brulée with a little twist - still very easy to make with few ingredients but guaranteed to be a hit in a - "oh I love crème brulée but wait, there is salted chocolate in it" - kind of way.  Truly one of my favourites - I hope you enjoy! 

Crème Brulée with Sea Salt Chocolate :  Makes 4 - 2/3 cup (160ml)  sized ramekins

  • 2 cups (480ml) of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (50g) of sugar
  • 1T (25ml) of vanilla paste  (or extract - but try to find vanilla paste if you can - or the seeds of one vanilla pod)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 6 - 8 squares of really good quality sea salt dark chocolate or regular dark chocolate
  • additional sugar for the burnt crust (about 1t per ramekin)
  • softened butter to grease the ramekins or cups

Preheat oven to 325ºF (165ºC) and turn on the kettle to boil some water for the water bath.

1.  If you are using a vanilla pod, cut it in half, scrape the seeds and add it to the cream with the scraped pod to infuse.

2.  If your are using vanilla extract or paste, its addition should be kept to the very last step before pouring the cream into the ramekins.  Cooking the vanilla extract or paste reduces the intensity of the flavour.

Place the cream (2 cups - 480ml)  in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high heat - gently stirring.  This takes about 4 minutes and when the cream begins to smoke it is ready.  

While the cream is heating, place the egg yolks (4 large) in a bowl with the sugar (1/4 cup  -50g) and whisk vigorously until the colour lightens slightly (about 3 minutes).

In a slow stream,  pour the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking while you are doing this (if you pour it in too quickly, you will cook the eggs).  Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve.  If you are using vanilla extract or paste (1T), add it now and stir to combine.

Butter your ramekins and place 1 1/2 squares of chocolate, roughly chopped in big pieces, on the bottom.

Place the cream into a large measuring cup (this facilitates pouring) and pour into each one of the ramekins.

Put the ramekins in a large rectangular cake pan and place in the preheated oven. Carefully pour the hot water into the pan until you are about half way up the side of the ramekins.

Bake for 30 - 33 minutes uncovered in the centre of the oven.  The surface will have coloured and the creams should be set - they will still jiggle a little in the centre while hot but you can check to make sure they are fully cooked by gently touching the surface with your finger.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature.  Cover each of the ramekins with plastic wrap and cool in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight. 

Remove the creams from the fridge 1/2  hour before serving,  to bring to room temperature.  

Just before serving, evenly sprinkle with sugar (1t) and you can either burn the sugar using a blow torch or under the broiler.  

If you are using a blow torch, place the ramekins on a cutting board or baking sheet to protect your work surface.  Bring the flame close to the sugar, moving it over the full surface, and watch as it begins to colour and slightly burn.  Allow to cool and harden.

If you are using the broiler method, place the ramekins on a cooking sheet as close to the element as possible.   Watch them closely.  It should take about 1 minute to cook the sugar.  Allow the sugar to harden and serve.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. In a perfect world my hips would welcome my favourite dessert everyday of the week!
    Thanks for sharing all the aspects of how you put together this decadent dessert.

    Flavourful wishes,


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