Crème brûlée is my favorite dessert. Of all time. Ever.
Lately I’ve had it in my head that it would be really good with a hint of lavender. I wish that I could say I was the first person to think of this, but a quick Google search led me to believe otherwise. I have a bottle of lavender extract that I bought on Amazon which was just sitting on my shelf, itching to be used.
I put my faith in The Pioneer Woman and adapted her recipe for my use, inclusive of the addition of the lavender extract as well as the use of my oven’s broiler to achieve this delicious caramelization. I’ve had a culinary torch in my Amazon wish list for almost a year now but I just can’t seem to take the plunge and purchase it. I think it is because I don’t know of any other uses other than to char a pepper and caramelize crème brûlée, both of which I can do with my oven’s broiler.
The sugar crust gets just as crunchy and delicious as with a torch, but it tends to turn out a little more “rustic” looking, with spots of dark brown caramelization rather than an all-over even golden brown. The husband says he prefers it this way, because the dark spots bring a hint of bitterness to the dish that compliments the overall sweetness rather well.
Here’s the recipe:
- 2 cups (1 pint) of heavy cream
- 1 whole vanilla bean
- 1 tsp. lavender extract
- 5 whole egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Extra sugar for topping
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice your vanilla bean lengthwise with the tip of a very sharp knife, just deep enough to puncture the top exterior (not all the way through to the cutting board). Turn your knife over, and using the flat back edge scrap the vanilla bean from top to bottom length wise to pull out all of that delicious caviar.
- Combine the vanilla caviar and cream in a heavy saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat.
- Meanwhile, whip together the egg yolks and sugar until they become thick and pale yellow in color. This is best done in a stand mixer so you have an extra hand for the next step.
- Very, very slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of warm cream into the egg yolks with the mixer beating the yolks on medium-low speed. Once that first 1/2 cup is added you can add the rest of the cream slowly.
- Grab out a rimmed baking sheet and place your four crème brûlée ramekins on it. Pour the mixture into the ramekins.
- Place the baking sheet in the pre-heated oven and pour very hot water into the bottom of the sheet pan until it reaches half way up the sides of the dishes.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until set. The custard will be quite wobbly and will jiggle from side to side when nudged. It should not be liquid in the center.
- Remove the ramekins from the pan (do NOT try to take the whole pan out with the extremely hot water sloshing from side to side). I’ve found that the best way for me is to use a stiff pancake turner. Cool ramekins on the countertop.
- Cover in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2-3 hours.
- When you are ready to serve the crème brûlée, take the ramekins out of the fridge, uncover them, and sprinkle a fine later of sugar over their tops. You want to get an even layer of sugar over the whole surface, so you may need to tilt, wiggle, and shake the dish to get the sugar to spread out. Tap out any excess sugar.
- Put the top rack in your oven up as high as it will go. You may even want to place an update side casserole dish in there so you can really get your ramekins up close to the heat element.
- Place the ramekins in the oven and then turn the broiler on to High. If you pre-heat your broiler the oven will get too hot and your delicious crème brûlée may begin to cook again.
- Broil 5-10 minutes, rotating frequently. Take them out when they are golden brown and bubbling.
- Place the crème brûlée in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill the custard. Any longer and the sugar topping will get soft.
- Or, if you’re impatient like me, you can serve them after about 5 minutes when the sugar has set and the center is still lukewarm. Mmm.
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman.
Nutrition (per serving):
440 calories, 28 g. fat, 5 g. protein, 44 g. carbs, 0 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 12