Recipe: Lavender-lemon crème brûlée
Fresh or dried lavender flowers imbue a classic crème brûlée with their intriguing scent. Choose French lavender, as it has a pleasing, decisive flavor, while other varieties can have a medicinal overtone. Garnish with lavender blossoms to identify the dish.
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
2 tablespoons fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender blossoms, plus more for garnish
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons or 12 teaspoons confectioners' sugar for topping
1 Preheat the oven to 275°F. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, lavender blossoms, and the lemon zest. Place over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain through a sieve and discard the lavender.
2 In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale in color. Whisk in the granulated sugar until dissolved. Whisk in the lavender-flavored cream.
3 Place six 5-inch-diameter flan dishes or 6-ounce ovenproof ramekins in a baking pan. Divide the custard mixture among the dishes. Pour warm water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the center of each custard still jiggles slightly. Remove from the oven and lift the ramekins from the hot water. Let cool briefly, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
4 When ready to serve, place the dishes on a baking sheet and using a small sieve, evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon sifted confectioner's sugar over each flan-sized custard, or 2 teaspoons sugar over each ramekin-sized custard. Using a hand-held blowtorch, caramelize the sugar by holding the torch about 4 inches from the surface of each custard and moving the torch to brown the sugar evenly. Or, preheat the broiler and place the pan about 4 inches from the heat source; watching carefully, broil until the sugar turns golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. If the ramekins have been caramelized by the broiler, refrigerate them for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish each with a few lavender blossoms.
Makes 6 servings
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Excerpted from Creme Brulee by Lou Seibert Pappas. Copyright 2008 by Chronicle Books. Excerpted with permission by Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.