Saturday, February 11

English Burnt Cream

Life is too short to enter into the historical debate on whether the French or the English first invented this dessert. Its a bit of a dinner party winner - who doesn't love a crème brûlée.........erm.......I mean English burnt cream.

Ignore what other cook books and recipes say - there is no way to make this dish at home without a blow torch. Domestic grills are simply not up to the job. This recipes will make between 4 and 6 burnt creams dependant on the volume of your ramekins. Adjust the recipe accordingly - the magic proportions are 1 egg yolk per 100ml of liquid. 

Double Cream - 700ml
Full fat milk - 100ml
Caster - 100g plus more for caramelising.
Egg Yolks - 8
Vanilla Pod - 1

Warm the milk, cream and sugar together - do not boil! Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add both to the milk. Allow to infuse for 30 mins. Heat your oven to 130c and boil the kettle. 

Remove the vanilla pod, whisk in the egg yolks and back on a gentle heat. Whisking all the time, bring the mix up to 70c to 80c. You know you are there when the mixture is just too hot to keep your finger in and whisps of steam are visible when you stir. You must watch it like a hawk and stir all the time or you will scramble your eggs. 

Remove from the heat and quickly pour into your ramekins. Place the ramekins in a deep roasting tin that will accommodate them all. Place the roasting tray in the oven and then fill the tray with boiling water. You want the water to come 2/3 up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30 to 40 mins until the creams look set but still have a good wobble on them. Remove and allow to cool for several hours in the fridge - they will set further when cold. The creams can be made several days in advance.

When you are ready to serve, sprinkle an even layer of sugar on the creams - a few grains thick. Blowtorch all over until golden trying to avoid any burning any area - black caramel is bitter. Give them 30 seconds for the caramel to harden and serve.

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