I have mentioned on this blog before that one of our favourite desserts is Crème Brûlée and when I saw Avonmore’s competition over on the Irish Food Bloggers website seeking recipes for 12 Days of Christmas I immediately thought a Christmas Crème Brûlée would be perfect. It’s very easy to make and needs just a few ingredients and if you haven’t made your own then simply buy a jar of good quality mincemeat. The most important thing to remember about making Crème Brûlée is to bake at a low temperature and check 5 minutes before time just in case – that way you are sure to end up with fabulously silky, creamy and perfectly set custard. The wonderful thing about this dessert is the custards can be made a day or two in advance and kept in the fridge until an hour before serving, all you have to do then is sprinkle with sugar and caramelise the tops.
- 500ml cream
- 1 vanilla pod, split
- 5 large egg yolks
- 60g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 jar of mincemeat
- approx. 1 heaped teaspoon of caster sugar per ramekin for topping
Preheat the oven to 140ºC (130ºC fan) and put the kettle on to boil. Stand 6 ramekins in a roasting tray and place a heaped tablespoon of mincemeat in to the bottom of each ramekin.
Put the egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla extract in to a bowl and whisk lightly.
Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds and place both the pod and seeds in to a pot together with the cream. Warm over a low heat until very hot but not boiling. Gently pour the hot cream on to the egg mixture in a thin steady stream whisking all the time – it is important not to add the cream too quickly as the eggs will scramble. Pour the custard mixture through a sieve in to a jug and then pour the custard gently in to each ramekin.
Pour hot water from the kettle carefully in to the roasting tray until it reaches half way up the sides of the ramekins and then place the roasting tray in to the oven. After 35 minutes check the ramekins - the custard should be set but with a slight wobble to the centre, if too wobbly give them just 5 minutes more. Remove the roasting tray from the oven and carefully take each ramekin out and stand somewhere cool. Once cool enough cover with cling-film and place in the fridge until ready to use.
Remove from the fridge an hour before serving and allow the custards to reach room temperature. When ready to serve sprinkle the top of each with a heaped teaspoon of caster sugar, gently moving the ramekin around to spread the sugar evenly. Using a cooks blow torch caramelise the sugar until it is a deep golden brown, be careful here not to allow the sugar to go too dark as it will become bitter. Allow a minute to harden and then serve.