A simple twist to a favorite dessert. Crème Brûlée was on a couple of planned pre-Christmas menus in our home, but our 10+ year old mini-torch decided to expire just as the holidays began… and not with a whimper… but a massive blow-out that scared the @!?$? out of the cook who was standing nearby! So axe brulee until Santa arrived on Christmas day and apparently s/he knows everything and managed to get a late order for a spanking new kitchen torch filled, wrapped and dropped off at the Marketman household. :)
For years, I have been meaning to get these shallow crème brûlée ramekins, convinced that the higher crisp sugar topping to custard ratio would be a truly good thing. The custard is just an excuse to enjoy the caramelized sugar, no? :) Anyways, on our last trip to the U.S. Northeast, I purchased 8 flat ramekins and I also decided to try bake something new, in this case, Mr. Lebovitz’s flavor enhanced crème brûlée… and it was a hit!
Here is the recipe of Mr. Lebovitz. Blanche 3 oz of sliced fresh ginger in simmering water for minutes and drain. Add the ginger back to the pan with 3 cups of heavy cream, 1.2 cups of granulated white sugar, and finely grated zest of two lemons. Heat until cream is very warm, but definitely not boiling, then then the heat off. Cover and let this steep for about an hour, so the flavors of lemon and ginger infuse the cream.
Preheat oven to 350F. Place your ramekins (roughly 4-6, depending on size) in a pan or baking dish. Remove the ginger pieces from the cream, then add a pinch of salt and reheat until it is quite warm, but not very hot. Turn off the heat. In a mixing bowl whisk 6 large egg yolks (use whites for another purpose) and slowly add the warmed cream, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a a large measuring cup or small pitcher. Pour the mixture into the ramekins. Add warm water to the roasting pan, so that it comes up to half the level of the ramekins. Cover pan tightly with alumnium foil and bake until the custard is just set and still a little wobbly in the center, roughly 30 minutes.
Transfer custards to a wire rack and let these cool after which place them in a refrigerator to chill for at least 6-8 hours, or better overnight. Just before serving, sprinkle the custards with superfine sugar and use your torch to caramelize the sugar, then serve immediately. The custard was clearly infursed with the ginger and lemon flavor, and was truly delicious. We have made many a crème brûlée in this household, and these were some of the best we have had. Thank you Mr. Lebovitz.
P.S. I write these posts directly on wordpress, and let me tell you, finding the right accents for crème brûlée was a royal pain in the @!&^%$. So if you are wondering why my posts often don’t include the right accents, it’s not only because I am lazy, but I often can’t actually find the right symbols to use! :)