Friday, February 8, 2008

Earl Grey Crème Brûlée

Earl Grey flavored dessert recipe have been a recurring theme for me for quite some time. A good friend of ours made a fantastic Earl Grey cake a while back and I've often thought that Earl Grey would make a killer ice-cream flavor. Unfortunately I haven't tried making it yet, in part because we've been wanting to buy the ice-cream maker add-on to our beautiful new kitchen machine.
But then, the inspiration to make an Earl Grey crème brûlée struck and it worked out beautifully, finishing a recent dinner of green curry soup. Basically you'll want to follow the basic recipe and make just two changes: remove the cinnamon and add the tea.
There are several ways to add flavors to a crème brûlée. In this case, since tea best releases its flavors in hot liquids, you'll want to add it to the milk-cream mixture as its hot. Bear in mind, however that tea steeped in boiling water will "burn" and become tart while tea steeped for longer than three to five minutes (depending on the tea) will become bitter, due to high tannin content. This basically means the best time to infuse the cream mixture with the tea flavor is after heating it, before adding the eggs & sugar mixture. Simply shorten the simmering time, letting tea infuse at the end, in a tea bag of course.
I added two teaspoons of an Earl Grey Darjeeling in my recipe, using the quantities of the basic recipe. Since Darjeeling turns bitter rather quickly, I removed it after only three minutes. Using a cheap Earl Grey blend, sometimes characterized by soapy palate and overbearing bergamot flavors, should work fine, though you may want to reduce steeping time even more.

Open question remains, whether this a Crème Brûlée »Jean-Luc Picard« or »Bruce Wayne«. Strong feelings on this one anyone?

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