A CRACKING GOOD EASY CREME BRULEE RECIPE

May 19th

I almost missed the boat on this one…….almost, but not quite! A couple of days ago I was taking a look at my timeline on twitter and came across a tweet from Tandy over at Lavender and Lime about a competition and challenge issued by her – bake something sweet and stand a chance to win a Le Creuset Cassis bakeware set! Well, I do love competitions! And lately they seem to rather like me too. I hope that doesn’t change anytime soon hehe! My brother is literally begging me to give him 6 lucky little numbers for the lotto! And he is adamant it has to be in secret via sms or skype and not in public (ie on facebook) so that the “vultures”, as he calls the rest of my family and friends, will not be able to see the numbers I give him. Think I should help him out??  Anyway…..loving Le Creuset products as much as I do and enjoying baking and competitions I just knew I had to participate in this event. Of course I’m just screeching in once again as this competition closes at midnight tonight. The challenge was to bakes something sweet that you have not baked before and for a while now I have been thinking of trying my hand at a crème brûlée. Or Burnt Cream if you want the English translation. I love this fabulously simple dessert but more often than not when you eat out at restaurants you are disappointed when you crack through the burnt sugar shell and find either runny or stodgy, dry, sometimes split and oily or stale tasting custard beneath. So last week I saw George from Masterchef Australia show the contestants how to make his crème brûlée that he has in his little red book. And when I saw Tandy’s tweet a couple of days later I knew what I would be making for the challenge – crème brûlée! The first challenge of course was that I do not possess any little ramekins but a suggestion by a friend to use teacups did the trick! Then I looked around for a recipe that I fancied but eventually made up my own based on a few others that I read through. The ingredients are pretty basic so it was just a matter of kicking up the flavour a notch and hoping that my custard came through for me. I am very happy to report that I can honestly say I make a very, very good crème brûlée ;) The sugar topping was just perfect to crack the spoon through and I held my breath as I dug the the spoon through the hard topping into WHAT LIES BENEATH! Sounds like a good novel or movie to me! The baked custard….oh the baked custard! It was rich, smooth like velvet, set just enough to hold its shape, very delicate vanilla and lavender flavours, dotted with the tiniest black speckles from the vanilla bean seeds. It was…..PERFECTION!! Better than the best I have ever tasted in the best restaurant I have ever eaten at! Seriously! I am so thrilled with how this turned out.  So here is my crème brûlée entry into Tandy’s challenge to stand in line to win the Le Creuset rectangular bake set…..

 

LAVENDER VANILLA CRÈME BRÛLÉE WITH A PISTACHIO SUGAR TOPPING

500ml Fresh Cream

200ml Full Cream Milk

6 Jumbo Egg Yolks (the whites are ageing for macarons)

90g Castor Sugar

1 Vanilla Pod – split lengthwise and the seeds scraped out with the tip of a knife

1 Lavender Flower, washed

100g Castor Sugar or Flavoured Sugar for the topping (Demerara apparently works well but I didn’t have any)

I used some fabulous Pistachio Sugar that my friend Jamie brought from France when she came in February for FBI2011

Preheat oven to 150deg Celcius

Place 6 – 8 ramekins onto a flat folded tea towel in a large roasting tin (depends on the size of your ramekins)

Fill the kettle with water and switch it on

Place the cream, milk, vanilla seeds and pod and the lavender flower into a small saucepan and place over a medium heat to scald – don’t boil it. Take it off the heat just as the bubbles start forming around the sides of the saucepan

While the cream is heating up whisk your egg yolks and sugar together very well until very pale and thick

When the cream is ready strain it through a sieve into a jug then pour it gently into the bowl with the eggs while whisking all the while. You do NOT want it to start scrambling the eggs so constant whisking is essential

Once all incorporated pour the custard into the ramekins almost filling right to the top

Place the roasting tin as close to the oven shelf as possible then pour in the boiling water from the kettle to come about half way up the sides of the ramekins (I find it much easier to have the empty roasting pan close to the shelf

otherwise you carry the heavy pan with boiling water all the way to the oven!

Cover loosely with a sheet of tin foil then place on the middle rack in the oven

Bake for about 1 1/2 hours – the top should be well set but the custard can still wobble a bit underneath

Cool completely then cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight

When ready to serve the dessert sprinkle an even layer of sugar over the top of each one then caramelize with a blow torch or under the very hot grill for a few seconds

I tried both methods and found the little kitchen blow torch absolutely ideal for this. You don’t want the custard to start melting underneath

Repeat the process once more if you want a thicker burnt sugar topping then allow to harden and cool for a few minutes before serving

ENJOY!!

browniegirl xx

 

 

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