Back from a small accidental hiatus. Anyone who cosplays will know full well the drama that is cosplay crunch as the convention approaches. And they’ll know just as well the con plague that hits you after. Between being busy and sick there’s been no time to bake. But now its time. My favourite time of the year is approaching. Its almost Christmas, which means it is the perfect excuse to bake and bake and bake.
This week I eased into the festive season by baking a creme brulee with a twist. I had a lot of cream to use up and I wanted to try a Christmas-inspired creme brulee that wasn’t minty. Then the inspiration hit like it was always meant to be.
The thing that makes this dish is the gingerbread spices that go into the cream. Give them a good while to infuse after cooking the cream to make it really fragrant.
While the cream cools, its time to beat the sugar into the egg yolks. Normally you would use caster sugar, but I opted for brown sugar this time to get more of those rich, caramel flavours in there.
It’s really important when combining the sugar mixture with the yolk mixture to whisk in a little of the cream at a time. This will temper the eggs and stop them from cooking and scrambling.
Similarly important is cooking them in a water bath. This will give you a really silky smooth custard. Any dish you have handy in the kitchen will do, just be sure not to pour the water so high that it will spill into your ramekins
Once you’ve given your little brulees plenty of time to cool, you can add the signature caramel topping. Honestly my favourite part.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this spur of the moment idea, but what resulted was such a wonderful spin on the classic custard. It brings so much of that gingerbread flavour without feeling like you’re eating mushy biscuits. It’s not as sweet as a normal creme brulee, bits its almost the better for it.
Gingerbread Creme Brulee
Gingerbread spices turn a simple creme brulee into a desert perfect for the festive season!
Note: Its very easy to customise a creme burlee recipe by remembering the ratio: 1:1:1 parts cream to egg yolk to sugar. Everything else is just a flavour boost.
- 600ml thickened cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 6tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tbsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tbsp ground cloves
- Preheat oven to 150°C (130°C fan forced/300°F). Place 6 x 1/2 cup capacity ramekins in a baking dish large enough to hold them.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, spices and vanilla together. Stir over medium heat until the cream just begin to boil; remove from heat and allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl, which until well combined and slightly thickened.
- Strain the cream mixture into a jug. Pour a little of the cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture and whisk to combine. This tempers the eggs to prevent them from scrambling. Repeat this process until the whole mixture is combined.
- Strain mixture once more into a clean jug; pour into the ramekins. Remove any bubbles from the surface of the custard (using a blowtorch to pop the bubbles works well). Pour boiling water into the baking dish until the water comes at least half way up the sides of the dishes
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until just set (custard will have a slight wobble). Transfer dishes to a tray and cool to room temperature before refrigerating; place in fridge for at least 4 hours.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle brulees evenly with caster sugar and use a blow torch to caramelise the sugar. Alternatively, place under a grill for 1-2 minutes (note that this option will warm the custards, especially in such a small dish, and you’ll have less control over caramelizing the sugar evenly).