Category Archives: Puddings

Easy Creme Brulee

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I’m a bit of a creme brûlée fanatic. I can’t resist ordering them off any menu. My sister is the same. So when she and I are out together our husbands have no choice but to comply.

While in Seattle, while my sister and her husband were visiting from New York, we decided to do a bit of wine tasting. After an hour or two of drinking we headed to a local fine-dining eatery. It was lovely. Amazing food, and amazing wine, as you’d expect. By the time the waiter asked if we wanted dessert, we were sufficiently lubricated such that all dessert prospects seemed amazing. My brother-in-law, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup fan, ordered a chocolate peanut butter treat. My sister and I ordered the creme brûlée du jour (of the day). Since we were celebrating her wedding anniversary I let her do the customary cracking of the caramel. She grabbed her teaspoon, smashed it with a satisfying clink and dug into the custard. So excited was she that she popped it straight into her mouth and I waited patiently for my turn. However, her face suddenly contorted and I saw the strain of trying not to spit out her food in a fancy dining establishment. She swallowed with great difficulty and mouthed “banana”.

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That’s all I needed to hear. I was horrified. Banana custard is the stuff my nightmares are made of. It’s my least favourite fruit, by far my least favourite flavour. Why would anyone put it in a creme brûlée?

Suffice it to say the dessert went largely untouched, even the boys tried it and passed. It was truly awful.

What it has taught me is to not jump at every brûlée on the menu. To ask the chef what the flavour is and to take that first bite with caution. I still love creme brûlées though.

I wanted to put this recipe together to convince you that creme brulee need not be on the “too hard” or “fancy restaurant” list. They are simple to make and the skill it takes is really the ability to watch an oven carefully. By cooking in a bain marie or water bath you cook gently and slowly to avoid the dreaded scrambled eggs. Don’t be afraid to open the oven door and check with a gentle wobble of the cup.

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Ingredients

Makes 2

  • 200ml pure cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar for the brûlées

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 150C and put 2 small ovenproof ramekins (I used 2 tea cups*)  in a baking tin/dish.

Heat the cream and vanilla bean paste over a medium-low heat and heat until the milk is just coming to the boil. Take off the heat.

In the mean-time mix the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl and stir until just combined.

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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 . Place the baking tin in the oven and pour cold water into the baking tin until it comes two-thirds of the way up the ramekins.

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Bake for about 40 minutes or until the custard is just set – it should only wobble faintly when shaken. Cool and then chill in the fridge until cold, at least 1 hour.

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To  brûlée

With a blowtorch

Remove custards in ramekins from the refrigerator. Dab the tops with a paper towel to remove any water or condensed liquid.

Scatter the tops of the cold brûlées 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 brûlées is to do it in layers. I’ve allocated 1 tablespoon per ramekin, so scatter half this quantity and brûlée with the blowtorch. Cool slightly then scatter with more sugar and brûlée again. I find this creates a nice thick crispy brûlée top and stops the burning.

Without a blowtorch

Remove custards in ramekins from the refrigerator. Dab the tops with a paper towel to remove any water or condensed liquid.

Evenly sprinkle caster sugar over the top of each custard.

Heat up a large cooking spoon, being careful to protect your hand from a handle that could get hot.

Place the heated spoon over the sugared top of custard and listen for the sizzle, smell the caramel and watch burnt sugar being made.

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*Please check whether your mugs are oven-safe before you put them in the oven!

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Chocolate Biscuit Pudding

 
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Chocolate biscuit pudding is one of those childhood dishes that make me truly happy. Can you imagine my excitement when my cousin informed me that Latin American grocery stores stocked Marie biscuits, made by Goya brand.
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I was thrilled! I couldn’t wait to make it and when I spied a grocery at Pike Place I couldn’t resist trying to find Marie biscuits. Word to the wise, taking a wriggly baby into a densely packed store is asking for trouble. There was a loud crash at one point that sent the sales assistant running after us,  fortunately it was just noise and no damage was done, but I swear the sales assistant was really excited to see the back of Callum and I. Chocolate biscuit pudding really is magic, chocolatey, buttery and just the right amount of sweet. However, I’m not terribly comfortable with eating raw eggs and have always wanted a “raw egg free” version. Here it is, just as chocolatey, just as buttery but minus the uncooked eggs…woot!
 
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 cup of cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 packet of Marie biscuits
  • 1/2 cup of milk

Preparation

In the bowl of your mixer whip the butter until fluffy. Turn it off, add the icing sugar and cocoa powder and keep beating until incorporated. Add vanilla and the pinch of salt and keep mixing. Finally add the cream and whip until the chocolate icing is nice and fluffy.

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Pour the milk into a bowl (big enough to dip the biscuits in).

Dip the biscuits a few at a time into the milk and lay them into your serving dish. I used a small pyrex dish 10 cm x 15 cm and I needed 6 biscuits to make a single layer.

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After the layer of biscuits add a third of the icing mixture, followed by biscuits etc until you finish up with the icing on top.

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Place the whole concoction in the fridge for at least 4 hours, this gives the biscuits enough time to soften.

When ready to serve sprinkle with some nuts (for crunch) and serve with vanilla ice cream or cream.

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September 13, 2013 · 9:56 pm

Caramel Pudding/ Cheats Creme caramel

This is a really easy and simple pudding that is famous in Lanka. Everyone makes it and everyone loves it. This is Mr Firehouse’s absolute favourite. It’s guaranteed to win me “wifey of the day.”

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • I  can full of water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten

Praline for decoration

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds toasted

Preparation

In a non-stick pan place the cup of sugar and place on a medium heat. Leave on the heat without stirring until it turns a lovely golden caramel colour. It changes quite quickly so don’t leave it. 

This is the colour you are looking for


Pour the caramel into the base of a small oven proof tin/dish. I’ve used individual ramekins but a small single dish works just as well
While the caramel cools pour the condensed milk into a jug, now fill the empty tin with water and pour that into the same jug. Add the  beaten eggs and vanilla and give the whole mixture a good mix. 
Pour the custard mixture over the caramel (or divide into the ramekins) Place the pudding/puddings in an oven tray and pour enough water into the tray so that it comes up about 1/2 way on your creme caramel dish. Cover the whole tray with aluminium foil and place in the oven.   Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until the mixture trembles lightly in the middle
When cool, run a sharp knife around the edge and up-end on a serving dish.

For the optional  praline

Place the nuts on piece of baking paper in a single layer

Place the sugar in a non stick saucepan and place on a low heat until the sugar turns to caramel. Pour over the nuts and wait till it hardens. Snap the praline into bite-size pieces and enjoy with the creme caramel! 

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Ginger Brulee

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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
Ginger Brulee

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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

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