I’m an avid reader, especially magazines, cooking/food/kitchen magazines. There are also several food websites I troll daily as well as several blogs I check frequently, most are listed in the right sidebar on this site but I have been lazy updating it. I get several publications monthly and I always try and set aside an hour or two a week at work to slowly work my way through them. I’m usually looking for ideas, recommendations, trends, new products, things like that.
The latest Saveur had an article about crème brûlée (French for ‘burnt cream’) which I found interesting. Most intriguing was the fact that it may not even be French! There are apparently recorded versions of a similar dish in England and France but are predated by a Spanish version.
The only reason I bring any of this up is I have had a crème brûlée on every dessert menu I’ve written over the last 15 years. One, it is a simple dessert to make well and two, customers expect it. I’ve tried menus without it and I get puzzled inquiries as to why I don’t have a crème brûlée on my menu.
Crème brûlée is another basic recipe that you can flavor in a number of ways. My latest and by far most popular crème brûlée is flavored with jalapeño. It sounds odd, but I’ve actually had people travel to get it, I’ve also given away the recipe for it many times. Last week I needed a photo of a dessert for the restaurant; I chose the crème brûlée and figured I might as well post it on the site.
The recipe and method I use is slightly different than the version in the Saveur article as is the cooking method. This has been the most foolproof recipe I’ve ever used.
The article recommends purchasing a handheld blowtorch, I agree. Just be sure your torch is propane gas and not butane. Butane gas can be toxic and will impart a ‘gassy’ characteristic to your sugar shell.
Makes six 6 oz. portions.
1 qt heavy cream
1 cup of sugar
3 jalapenos, 2 sliced into ¼ inch discs, 1 deseeded and minced for the batter
10 egg yolks
Turbinado sugar for caramelizing, Sugar in the Raw works great.
1. Preheat oven to 325° in a standard oven, no convection
2. Combine cream and sliced jalapenos in a heavy bottom sauce pot.
3. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat, allow to cool to room temperature.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar and minced jalapeno.
5. Strain the cream into the egg yolks and mix well.
6. Portion 6 oz of batter into chosen vessels, ceramic fluted dishes are most common.
7. Arrange the dishes onto a single sheet tray and place the tray in the oven, but not all the way…
8. Make a water bath with the sheet tray by filling it with tepid water until the level of the water is three quarters of the way up the sides of your dish.
9. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the outside is firm and the center of the brûlée jiggles slightly.
10. Remove from the oven, being careful not to splash around the hot water.
11. Remove the dishes to a rack and allow to come to room temperature.
12. Wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
The article recommends using boiling water for your water bath, I prefer tepid water to allow the cream to cook more gradually and, therefore, more evenly.
1. Spread a thin layer of turbinado sugar over the top of the crème brûlée.
2. Gently brown the sugar with the torch, moving from the bottom of the dish up. Going from top to bottom will expose parts of the sugar to too much flame, making it burn unevenly.
3. Allow the sugar to cool for a minute and serve.
I garnish my Jalapeno Crème Brûlée an apple-coriander compote.
6 ea. apples, peeled and diced
2 oz butter
1 tsp coriander
1 cup sugar
1. Melt butter in a medium sized sauté pan.
2. Add apples and cook over medium heat until they begin to release their liquid.
3. Add sugar and coriander.
4. Cook until the liquid starts to become syrup.
5. Strain the apples out and reduce the liquid to caramel.
6. Add the apple back in, cool and serve.