By the time you read this, I’ll probably be crazy jet lagged in New York City and/or dragging my poor boyfriend Erlend around to the 12+ bakeries that I want to visit. Everybody’s probably crazy busy with Christmas coming up so fast, so I’ll keep today’s post short and sweet by asking: what’s on your Christmas wish list?
Erlend and I exchanged Christmas presents early since we didn’t want to drag our presents all the way to New York with us. I gave him the waterproof shoes that he requested (we do live in Portland, after all), along with this lovely sweater made from Alpaca wool and leather elbow patches that I hopefully will steal for myself one day. He also got me a pair of leather walking boots, and a slow cooker to help me with dinners on weekday nights, something I am notoriously awful at making for myself.
Other items on my wish list?
- This Saddle Office Chair from West Elm to have something comfortable (and pretty!) to blog in
- These H by Hudson ankle boots that I’ve been coveting for about a year now
- A Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite so I can finally take some night time shots (!!!)
- The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book… because, pie, ya know?
This recipe puts a holiday twist on traditional French crème brûlée — instead of a traditional vanilla bean custard, the custard’s cream base has been infused with cinnamon sticks, star anise, nutmeg and cloves. I like to think that they taste like Christmas in a cup, since you can bake them in ovenproof teacups for a particularly festive look.
Happy Holidays, everybody!
Spiced Crème Brûlée
- a culinary chef’s torch
For the Spiced Custard
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided into two equal half portions (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 (whole) star anise
- 7 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
For the Brûlée Topping
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 300 (F). Bring a kettle or pot of water to a boil, and place eight 5-ounce ramekins in a large roasting pan.
- In a large, heatproof mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 7 large egg yolks, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine 4 cups heavy cream and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (half of the ingredient portion) granulated sugar, whisking together. Heat over medium until the mixture starts to bubble around the edges of the pan, around 7 to 8 minutes. Be careful not to let the mixture boil — you just want it to come to a very hot but gentle simmer.
- Once the cream mixture is steaming gently, remove it from heat. Temper the eggs by using a ladle to pour a small amount of the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking the egg mixture continuously. Add two more ladles of cream mixture, one at a time, while continuing to whisk the egg mixture. Gradually whisk in the remaining cream mixture, before straining through a fine mesh sieve into a large liquid measuring cup.
- Divide the custard evenly amongst the 8 ramekins. Place pan in the oven, before adding enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custards are just set (they should be set in the sides of the ramekin, but jiggle in the center), around 30 to 40 minutes. Once the custards are set, use tongs to carefully remove dishes from their hot water bath and allowing to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, before covering with plastic wrap and chilling overnight to finish setting in the refrigerator.
- To serve, sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar over each custard. Pass the flame of a chef’s torch in a circular motion 1 to 2 inches above the surface of each ramekin until the sugar bubbles, turns amber, and forms a smooth surface. Let rest for one minute, before serving immediately.