Blackcurrant Crème Brûlée

Slightly more complicated than the Cambidge Burnt Cream (which is really the basic crème brûlée in disguise) it offers a shade of anise, booze and a layer of fruity concoction  for seemingly sophisticated diner. I like and recommend them both. One could skip, of course , the fruity layer or, conversely, keep the fruit and use the Cambridge cream with it..

Prepare heat proof ramekins; they will be used in bain-marie (in the oven, in hot water bath).  Recommended are the transparent glass ones, as the layer of crème brûlée contrasts beautifully with the dark, sinful layer of blackcurrants..

The quantities below will produce a generous serving for 6, and may well serve 7-8, if you’d rather not spoil your guests with  rich desert.

  • 750 mL whipping (35%) cream
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) anise seeds, lightly crushed
  • 500 mL blackcurrants or wild blueberries, thawed if frozen
  • 100 mL granulated sugar
  • 50 mL Crème de Cassis liqueur (i also used Plum or Quince, successfully)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 100 mL sugar (about a table spoonful for each person)
  1. Stir together cream and anise seeds in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until mixture is steaming and bubbles appear around edge.
  3. Remove saucepan from the heat, cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, stir together blackcurrants and 50 mL granulated sugar in a small saucepan.
  5. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often and crushing fruit lightly to release juices, until mixture is reduced and jammy.
  6. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  7. Stir in Crème de Cassis.
  8. Divide blackcurrant mixture among the ramekins, then set ramekins in a small baking pan. Set aside. It is beneficial if the blackcurrant mixture is really cool and has had time to solidify a little before accepting  the runny layer of the egg-cream custard.

Here you can take a break..

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC).
  2. Beat together eggs yolks and remaining granulated sugar in a medium bowl, just until combined.
  3. Gradually whisk cream into egg-yolk mixture, then strain custard through a fine sieve into a pitcher.
  4. Pour custard into ramekins, dividing evenly.
  5. Pour enough hot water into baking pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until custards are just set but centres still wobble slightly.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  8. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

Finally, just before serving

  1. Sprinkle sugar evenly over top of each custard.
  2. Caramelize sugar by playing a blow torch over each ramekin, until sugar melts. Alternatively, put ramekins under a hot broiler for 3 to 5 minutes, until sugar melts.
  3. Let cool before serving.
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