SENTIMENTAL SUNDAYS…crème brûlée

The first time I had a crème brûlée was when we went on a family holiday to Corsica when I was about 10 or 11. We sat outside at a restaurant over looking the beautiful sea, and us kids had big bowls of spaghetti bolognese – not very French I know, but spaghetti bolognese from a restaurant tasted so much nicer than the one we had at home (sorry Mum!) Then for pudding mum suggested we all try a crème brûlée. I remember it coming in a large, shallow terracotta dish, I tapped my spoon on the hard caramelised top, cracking it through to the deliciously creamy, vanilla custard. This texture of hard and crunchy with the soft and creamy was absolutely delightful! It quite comfortably made it up to the top of my desserts list. I have had many crème brûlée since, the ones you buy and sprinkle sugar on then grill. Many from restaurants, including the fabulous variants that Kev the chef who worked at the restaurant Lyds and me worked at during school would make – Toblerone, white chocolate and Rolo to name a few. And for the very first time this year I made my own crème brûlée, unfortunately I didn’t cook the custard for long enough and it ended up not setting, but it was still very tasty. Here’s the recipe (with increased oven cooking time).

White Chocolate Crème Brûlée

Ingredients | Serves 4

284 ml double cream
50g Green and Blacks white chocolate with vanilla
half a split vanilla pod
3 egg yolks
1 tbsp golden caster sugar, plus extra for topping
a few raspberries to garnish

1.Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Heat the cream, chocolate and vanilla pod in a pan until the chocolate has melted. Take of the heat and allow the vanilla to infuse for about 10 minutes, then use the tip of a knife to scrape out the seeds into the cream.

2. Beat yolks and sugar well and then stir in the chocolate cream.

3. Pour the creamy mixture into 4 ramekins. Place them in a deep roasting tray and pour boiling water halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 20 minutes until just set, they should still be a bit wobbly.

4. Chill in the fridge ideally over night.

5. To serve, spread some sugar over the top of the brûlées and caramelise with a blowtorch or under a hot grill. Leave caramel to harden, then serve with a few raspberries.

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