The undisputed king of custards, the crème brûlée. Velvety, thick and rich as anything, this absolutely incredible dessert is deceptively simple, and perfectly suited to entertaining – make ahead and store in the fridge, brûlée just before serving and you will totally wow your guests despite barely putting in 5 minutes of actual work time.
Typically, a crème brûlée would be flavoured with vanilla, but as it’s Christmas time, I wondered just how feasible it would be to try to inject slightly more festive flavours into the mix. The answer is – incredibly feasible. The spices and dark, brown sweetness of gingerbread is perfectly encapsulated within this little pot of joy. Through the use of molasses-rich brown sugar and clever winter spices, you could almost imagine this dish running, running as fast as it can.
Ingredients – For 4 large Crème brûlées
- 500ml double cream
- 100g brown sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 inch cubed of fresh ginger OR 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Caster sugar for top
- Pour the double cream into a saucepan and add the ginger and spices. Heat over the lowest temperature for around 10 minutes to allow the flavours to fully mix into the cream.
- When the cream is ready, whisk the brown sugar and egg yolks together until well-mixed. Make sure you don’t do this too early or the yolk strands will begin to reform.
- Pour the cream into the egg and whisk until combined, then pour the whole mixture through a sieve into a jug. You don’t want large solid bits in the custard, so don’t skip this step.
- Put your ramekins into a roasting dish and fill the dish with warm water until it comes halfway up the ramekins. Pour the custard into the ramekins, evenly distributing and bake at 140C.
- After 25 minutes, check the crèmes – they should be firm-ish around the outside with a slightly wobble in the middle. If not ready, check every 3 minutes or so. Don’t forget, they will firm up more as they set.
- Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least an hour. When ready to serve, add a teaspoon of caster sugar to the top and tilt/turn the ramekin to evenly distribute. Use a blow torch to melt the sugar by gently waving the flame just over the top. Allow to cool again for a couple of minutes, then serve.