Now that you’ve picked out your movie for Valentine’s Day tonight, why not whip up a dessert that sounds super fancy? If you’ve never made creme brulee before, fear not. It isn’t difficult, and it’s a big bang for your buck recipe.
I went to the inaugural meeting of a Dessert Club yesterday. The theme was “new recipe”, so we had to make something we had never made before. I would normally have made Passion Fruit Ice Cream today for Kent who would think I was cheating on him if I didn’t make something passion fruity. I was stymied on the whole process until I finally gave myself permission to not win. And then the passion fruit creme brulees actually did garner the most votes! Woohoo! Thanks to Jeanadele who gave me her creme brulee recipe and tips.
1 ¾ Cups Heavy Cream
½ Vanilla Bean-seeds scraped from the pod, (or 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste)
4 Egg Yolks
¼ Cup Sugar
¼ tsp. Salt
3 Tbsp. Passion Fruit Purée
4 Tbsp. Sugar
Preheat oven to 325ºf. Bring a quart of water to a boil, reserve hot. Heat the heavy cream with the vanilla bean until simmering, turn off and let the flavor of the vanilla bean infuse into the cream for 10 minutes. In a bowl combine the egg yolks, sugar and salt. Gradually ladle in the hot cream into the egg mixture while whisking slowly to prevent the egg yolks from curdling. Stir in the passion fruit juice. Strain the egg mixture into a bowl. Skim off any foam from the top of the custard mixture.
Divide the egg mixture among four six ounce custard cups, ramekins or crème brûlée dishes. Place the cups carefully in a baking dish. Ladle the hot water into the baking dish being careful not to get hot water into the custard cups. Add enough hot water so the level comes halfway up the height of the custard cups. Carefully put the baking dish and custards into the preheated oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the custard is gently set. The custard should evenly wiggle when gently set. Remove from the hot water and chill the custard cups fully in the refrigerator.
To finish, evenly spread 1 Tbsp of the second measure of sugar on top of each custard. Brown the sugar with a torch or under the broiler until caramelized and bubbly. Let cool briefly to harden the sugar crust.
NOTES: I made two batches: one precisely according to the above recipe, and the other for my husband who wants to his passion fruit desserts to fight back. To the latter I added a full Tablespoon extra passion fruit pulp and 1.5 Tbsp. sugar to counter the tartness. The salt in the recipe really does block some of the bitterness of the passion fruit. I used my turkey roasting pan for the bain marie. It took 35 minutes in my oven Northern Virginia for the custards to be gently set. Kent loved the tart ones. As he finished his third little ramekin this morning, he asked, “So when are you going to make the passion fruit ice cream?”
Wegman’s has passion fruits in stock right now. A shirveled, wrinkly exterior means they are ripe. One or two passion fruits will make 3 Tbsp. of pulp. You can leave the seeds in or remove them if you prefer. I order my passion fruit pulp from Amazon and use it for various desserts and meat sauces. I’ll post the link at the end.
If you don’t have time to find passion fruit, you cannot go too far wrong with vanilla creme brulee. You could steep the cream with a cinnamon stick in this recipe, or even cinnamon and basil if you are adventurous.
Vanilla Creme Brûlée
12 oz heavy cream
1/4 vanilla bean (scraped out, of course), or 1 t. vanilla paste/extract
3 oz granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
Heat heavy cream and vanilla in stainless steel pot. Heat to 130F, do not boil or whisk. Stir gently. Combine yolks and sugar in a separate bowl. Ladle 1/3 of cream into yolk mixture while whisking briskly so the eggs don’t curdle. Combine with the rest of cream. Pour mixture through a sieve into 4-oz ramekins or other ceramic molds. Pop any little surface bubbles with a paper towel corner. Bake in a water bath/bain marie at 325F until set (in Virginia I’ve had luck at around an hour, but check around :45). Refrigerate the ramekins (not in the water bath). When cool, sprinkle with granulated sugar and brûlée away!
This is the pulp I use. I am extremely happy with this company and their products. They basically force you to buy 3 canisters with their shipping rates though, so splitting an order isn’t a bad idea.