I read the Guardian. I know that might change your opinion of me, but it’s true. For a while now they’ve been publishing a piece called “How to cook the perfect….” and it always catches my eye. The premise is simple. They choose an iconic dish, fried chicken for example. Then they research recipes by iconic chefs and cooks. The author then cooks all of these, critiques them and essentially comes up with her own.
I recently read her piece of crème-brulees. I love crème-brulees! If I see one of a menu, I’d be hard-pressed not to order it. Having said that, I haven’t had the best luck making them. I’ve found that my custard is either overcooked or undercooked, so after investing all that time and all those egg yolks into the recipe, it never worked. I mean, a few worked. But I could never get consistency. I even invested in a blow torch to get the full impact and that all-desirable sugar crunch.
So, I put aside my demons, after reading this recipe and decided to give it a go. Guess what? It worked, it worked amazingly well, even when I put them under the grill as I was sans blow torch.
The second time I made these, I couldn’t help but put my own spin on it. I wanted my crème-brulees to taste like my favourite ginger brulee tarts from the Bourke St Bakery
. This is the kind of place dreams are made of. One of my favourite go-to foodie spots in Sydney. The best thing on their menu (in my opnion) is there ginger brulee tart.
|The famous ginger brulee tart from Bourke St Bakery
A crispy pate sucre filled with a lightly spiced ginger/chai custard and bruleed on top. It’s truly a taste sensation and something I hope to make in it’s entirety one day.
Until then here’s my
- 600ml double cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 cardoman pods bruised
- ½ a cinnamon stick
- 2.5 cm of ginger
- ½ a tsp vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons of caster sugar for the brulee
Preheat the oven to 150C and put 6 small ovenproof ramekins ( I used 4oz) in a baking tin.
Pour the cream into a small, heavy-based pan and add the spices. Bring to the boil over a medium-low heat.
Take the cream off the heat and leave to infuse for at least 4 hours
Re-heat the cream over the medium-low heat and bring back to the boil In the mean-time mix the egg yolks and sugar in a heat-heatproof bowl and stir until just combined.
When the cream begins to boil pour the cream on to the yolk and sugar mix, stirring constantly to mix.
Divide the mixture between the ramekins through a strainer (remember all those lovely spices you don’t want in your crème brulees. Pour cold water into the baking tin until it comes two-thirds of the way up the ramekins.
Bake for about 40 minutes until the custard is set – it should only wobble faintly when shaken. Cool and then chill until cold.
Scatter the tops of the cold brulees with the remaining sugar, and use a blowtorch or hot grill to caramelise the tops.
Now the best trick I’ve learnt when blowtorching the brulees is to do it in layers. I’ve allocated 1 tablespoon per ramekin, so scatter half this quantity and brulee with the blowtorch. Cool slighty then scatter with more sugar and brulee again. I find this creates a nice thick crispy bruleed top and stops the burning.
On no…I don’t have a blowtorch
Many of us don’t have blow-torches so here’s how to do it minus the blowtorch.
Sprinkle the whole quantity of sugar on the brulees and place under a very hot grill for a couple of minutes (watch like a hawk) – if using a grill, you may need to put them back in the fridge for half an hour before serving to cool down again