I admit it. I am obsessed. What can I say. Crème Brulee # 3 is here—this time Lavender Crème Brulee. Hey, I posted some healthy recipes in between.
Lavender Crème Brulee brings together two wonderful food sensations: the crunchy melted sugar topped custard of a standard crème brulee along with the subtly floral, spring-like flavor of lavender. Mother’s Day brunch anyone?
I became obsessed with lavender a half dozen years ago, after tasting a lemon lavender cupcake at the Wild Tomato, one of our favorite restaurants. When I made a lemon lavender shortbread that ribboned in the Wisconsin State Fair, it was officially one of my favorite flavors.
Last summer we went to a lavender festival on a nearby island farm and my interest went over the top. Yes, there is an island in Lake Michigan that has climate and soil conditions that are near perfect for its growth–who would have thought! Lavender ice cream, lavender soda. Beautiful fragrant fields…
Of course eating dessert can make some people feel guilty. And I have been reading a lot about the dangers of added sugar lately. They are now saying we should limit our intake to about 10% of calories/day (from 6-15 teaspoons). Ouch!
So I decided that when I eat something sweet, I want to eat something amazing! Something that doesn’t break the bank. A serving of this lavender crème brulee comes in under 300 calories with about 4 teaspoons of added sugar. And yup, tastes great.
Check. And check.
(Lavender) Crème Brulee is one of those fortunate desserts that taste like they are difficult to make (or at least unpredictable)… but are actually easy. In truth, I’ve made this dozens of times and never had a failure. And believe me, I’ve had LOTS of baking failures. And contrary to popular belief you don’t need to buy a single-use torch; this can go right under the broiler (placed in broiler safe dishes and carefully watched).
So no apologies here for a third crème brulee recipe. Or to my family for the 57th (approximate) batch. Yup, I’ll never be the Grinch who Stole Dessert!
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 ½ cup whipping cream (see note)
- ½ c skim milk
- 1/3 c sugar
- 2 T lavender
- 1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 9 teaspoons brown sugar for topping (approx. 1 ½ teaspoons per serving)
- Heat oven to 325°F. Place 6 (4-oz) ceramic ramekins in 13x9-inch pan.
- Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise, then scrape out seeds. Place seeds and pod in a small saucepan with cream, skim milk and sugar and heat until just below boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, add lavender and let sit until mostly cool.
- In small bowl, slightly beat egg yolks with wire whisk. Add cooled cream mixture and stir until well blended. Strain into a pouring vessel. Pour cream mixture evenly into ramekins. The lavender buds will strain out, but I like to add some back (6-12/dish) for extra flavor and texture.
- Carefully place pan with ramekins in oven. While in oven, pour enough boiling water into pan, being careful not to splash water into ramekins, until water covers half to two-thirds of the height of the ramekins.
- Bake 25 to 40 minutes until the center of the custard is set but jiggly (it’s okay if sides are jiggly too as long as the center is set)
- Carefully remove ramekins—I found that lifting with a hamburger turner worked best. Refrigerate until chilled, approximately 2 hours (longer is okay if you wish).
- Sprinkle about 1 1/2 teaspoons of brown sugar over each chilled custard. Place under pre-heated broiler to brown. Refrigerate until rechilled, 1-2 hours
- This will keep a few hours in the refrigerator but the topping will become soft if left overnight. Should this occur, you can blot away the moisture with a lint free cloth, add new brown sugar and broil again to recrisp.
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