Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rosemary Scented Raspberry Crème Brulee

Crème brulee has to be the easiest difficult dessert to have ever graced my table. As I whisk eggs and milk together, I recall Julie Powell’s sentiments in the movie "Julie & Julia" and take similar comfort knowing that they will become heavenly thick when cooked and come together perfectly even when nothing else in life does.  Such a comfort.

I served this for dessert on Valentines Day, and Rich said it tasted like summer. I’ll be honest, I only used raspberry and rosemary because it is what I had on hand and I love savory herbs in desserts. But wow, what an elegant and delicious combination! Anyone else enjoy herbs in dessert? If so, how do you use them? 

Serves 4
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 sprigs rosemary
3/4 cup crème fraiche
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint raspberries, rinsed and dried
Hot water
1/4 cup granulated white sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 C)

In a medium sauce pan, heat the heavy cream and one sprig of rosemary until almost boiling. Turn off the heat, cover and allow the herb to steep in the cream for about 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the crème fraiche, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla.

Divide the raspberries between four ramekins and place in a deep baking dish. Pour hot water into the baking dish to cover the bottom two thirds of the ramekins. 

Remove the rosemary from the cream, then in a thin stream, pour the hot cream over the crème fraiche mixture while whisking. Divide this mixture among the ramekins and top each with a few rosemary needles. Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove each ramekin from the water bath to a cooling rack. When cooled to room temperature and ready to serve, sprinkle each custard with one tablespoon of sugar. Caramelize the sugar with either a butane torch or a salamander. I find the latter far less intimidating as flames in the kitchen still ignite fear in my heart.