Gingerbread Crème Brûlée

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

Method

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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