Sunday, January 25, 2009

~Chocolate Crème Brûlée with Strawberries

Chocolate Crème Brûlée Recipe:
(makes enough for 4 ramekins)

Start a pot of water (4 cups) boiling for water bath, and preheat oven to 350.

1 cup half & half or cream
2 Tbsp sugar
very small pinch of salt
2 Tbsp Ghiradelli ground chocolate (or 1oz chocolate bar, chopped)
4 Strawberries sliced
Combine in saucepan, whisking over medium-high until sugar is incorporated and mixture begins to bubble gently, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and prepare egg mixture.

3 large or 2 jumbo egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk the eggs and vanilla together thoroughly. Keep whisking, slowly pour hot cream mixture into egg mixture in a thin stream. Strain mixture through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Put the mixture into a large measuring cup so that you can pour it easily.

Mist ramekins with nonstick spray and place in a flat baking dish with a rim. Pour mixture in, leaving 1/8 inch of space at the top. Pour hot water halfway up the outside of the ramekins. Transfer carefully to oven, bake at 350 for 20-25min. To check if it's done, give the pan a gentle shake. They are done when the center jiggles only slightly.

Remove ramekins from hot water and chill for 2-3 hours. They will keep for at least a week, but be sure to keep covered in plastic wrap or they will dry out and crack. Add the sugar layer last, because it will become soggy in the fridge.

Sugar layer (brûlée): Evenly sprinkle 1-2 tsp sugar on cooled custard. Tip and gently shake ramekin to even out. Heat evenly in circular motions with a culinary torch held 2 inches from surface. Stop heating when the sugar turns golden brown- it will go from brown to burned very quickly. Put Strawberries on top.