Tuesday, March 16, 2010

White Chocolate Creme Brulee with Macerated Berries

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine asked me to teach him a few recipes. So I was on a mission to create a nice gourmet yet simple menu. Everything was going smoothly until I came down to dessert. I could not think of anything that would really be simple but completely impressive. So I asked my friend, "Name one dessert you would love to learn how to make?" He paused and then replied, "Creme Brulee!"
Of coarse I agreed and went to work on a recipe. However, the words creme brulee did not equal easy in my mind...until I looked at the recipe. OMG there was nothing to it!

Now the one ingredient that I believe makes a simple creme brulee special is s fresh vanilla bean. I was actually able to find them a lot easier than I though. Both Williams and Sonoma and The World Market had them. In fact, I also bought the Little ramekins for the creme brulee at The World Market as well for a much better price than any other store I went to that day. The best part of using the vanilla bean in a creme brulee is when you get to the bottom of the ramekins you see the little black dots from the vanilla bean...and everyone started asking what it was!

I served some really simple macerated berries alongside the creme brulee and we had an amazing simple and delicious dessert!

White Chocolate Creme Brulee

6 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
4 oz white chocolate chips
12 teaspoons raw or cane sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325-degrees.
2. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds out of the bean and make sure you get every last bit!
3. Over medium heat combine the heavy whipping cream, vanilla seeds and the vanilla bean; bring to a simmer.
4. In a separate bowl combine the sugar with the egg yolks and whisk to combine.
5. Once the cream mixture comes to a heavy simmer, begin tempering the eggs: with a ladle add in some of the cream mixture into the eggs and whisk. Do this 2 more times. This will allow for the eggs to reach temperature slowly and not curdle. Once tempered, add the mixture back into the pot.
6. Add the white chocolate to the pot and over low heat, slowly whisk the mixture, making sure the chocolate melts.
7. Pour mixture into a measuring cup through a strainer to catch the vanilla bean and any pieces of egg that may have curdled.
8. Arrange ramekins in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of dishes.
9. Pour custard into each ramekin and divide equally.
10. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until set in center.
11. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or until ready to serve, at least 1 hour.
12. If you have a flame torch, like myself this makes for an exciting activity for the guests to do. Just sprinkle the raw sugar on top of the creme brulee right before service flame them! If you do not have a flame torch, (you should invest in one, they are very impressive and not that expensive!)then just stick them under the broiler with the sugar sprinkled on top until nice and golden brown!

Macerated Berries

1 pint strawberries
1 pint blackberries
1 pint blueberries
1 pint blackberries
1/4 cup Amaretto Disarrono
1/4 cup sugar

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Let rest for at least an hour and serve with your favorite dessert!

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