On Valentine’s Day this past year, my boyfriend’s only meal request was that I make Crème Brûlée for dessert. We had recently stumbled upon a local coffee shop that serves Earl Grey, Lavender, and Rose versions of Crème Brûlée and he was obsessed. Unfortunately, I was being scatter-brained and forgot to add in the Earl Grey leaves. We still ended up with a delicious dessert, but it would have been so much yummier with that beautiful added fragrance from the tea.
So today I fished that box of Bigelow’s Earl Grey Tea from the back of the cupboard and decided to try again.
Earl Grey Crème Brûlée
Prep time: 25 min.
Cook time: 2 hours, 40 min.
I N G R E D I E N T S :
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar (plus extra set aside for the top)
- 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 packets of Earl Grey Tea
I N S T R U C T I O N S :
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Heat heavy cream and the contents of one of the tea packets together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then immediately turn off the heat. Cover the cream with a lid and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, just until it turns a pale yellow color. DO NOT OVER MIX.
Once the cream mixture has finished steeping, pour small amounts into the egg and sugar mixture while whisking continuously. This is called tempering, and will allow for the two mixtures to combine without cooking the egg from the heat of the cream mixture. Begin boiling a large pot of water on the stove, which will be needed for later.
After combined, strain the mixture into another bowl. Don’t forget to use a spatula to squeeze those last drops out of the bits of tea leaves at bottom of the strainer.
Use a ladle to evenly distribute the mixture into two separate dishes. You can use ramekins, small bowls, whatever works. However, it’s usually easier to use a shorter and wider dish and would take less time to cook in the oven. Make sure to remove any air bubbles from the liquid.
Place a towel at the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish. Add the two ramekins into the pan, making sure they sit evenly on the towel. Take the now boiling water from the stove and pour (or spoon depending on the size of your dish) it into the baking dish till the ramekins are submerged half way in the hot water. Make sure to be extra careful not to get any water inside the ramekin!
Carefully take the baking dish to the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on how deep the ramekins are. When done, the crème brûlée will wiggle slightly in the center, but should not appear too liquidy.
When done, remove from the oven and immediately separate the ramekins from the water bath to stop the cooking. Cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge for 2-4 hours. The brûlée can also last in the fridge for up to 3 days before serving.
There are several ways to create the hard layer of caramelized sugar on top. I’ve heard of people using castor sugar with more ease because it is finer and therefore caramelizes easier, but any sugar should really do the trick. Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top of the custard, turning it around so the sugar coats evenly. I’ve found that using a small handheld blow torch is the easiest way for me, but you can also use the broiler. To do so, place the ramekins as close as possible to the top of the oven and broil for 5-10 minutes. Another way, which I learned in this video from Raiza Costa @ Dulce Delight, involves a spoon! Heat a metal spoon over an open flame (stove top works) for 5 minutes. Then run the spoon over the sugar granules to caramelize. Once cool, wash off the excess sugar from the spoon, reheat and repeat.
For decoration, use the loose leaves from the 2nd bag of tea. Sprinkle a small pinch of the tea leaves on top. Serve and enjoy!
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