Joyeux Quatorze Juillet! Last year, I bastardized a week's worth of French sweets, and this year I've had my Bastille-Day-week all mapped out with five flavours of crème brûlée. Then both of my kitchen torches failed, time sped up, and before I knew it I was cooking my sister's 30th birthday cake over three nights after work, and not giving a damn about making anglaise and crystalising sugar.
I did manage one recipe before my sense of organisation escaped me, and I'm glad it was such a tasty one. I decided to add raspberries to both the mixture and in the bases of each serving. It's nice to get a tart surprise at the bottom of sweet custard. I love crème brûlée served in shallow dishes to maximise the amount of crunchy toffee, and these small ceramic spoons were the perfect choice.
Ingredients (makes 4 modest servings)
500 mls pouring cream
1 vanilla bean, with seeds scraped
1/4 cup caster sugar
For raspberry puree:
200 gms raspberries
2 tbsps icing sugar
sugar for toffee
raspberries to garnish
For the raspberry puree, place berries and icing sugar in a small saucepan and stir, squashing the berries, over a medium heat until you have a pour-able consistency. Press the sauce through a fine sieve, and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 160C. Place the cream and vanilla in a small saucepan and heat gently until cream is almost at boiling point - small bubbles will start to appear around the edges of the pan.
Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and caster sugar in a medium sized bowl. When the cream is ready, slowly begin to pour into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Whisk for about a minute to bring the temperature down slightly, before returning to the saucepan. Heat over a low heat until mixture is thick enough to thinly coat the back of a spoon. Stir through half of the puree.
Pour the remaining puree into the bottoms of each dish or vessel of your choise. Strain the custard, and gently pour on top of the puree. Place the dishes into a baking dish and fill the dish with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of each. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, keeping a close eye as cooking time will vary depending on the size of your servings. The custard should look set on the surface, but still have a gentle wobble. Remove from oven and water and allow to cool completely.
To serve, generously sprinkle with sugar and caramelise with a kitchen torch until sugar begins to bubble. Serve with raspberries.
The raspberry through the custard was quite subtle, so feel free to add more puree if you'd prefer. You could also add whole or crushed raspberries, but I wanted my crème brûlée to be as smooth as possible. I think there's little room for failure with custard and berries.
Recommended baking soundtrack: Françoise Hardy - Et Si Je M'En Vais Avant Toi