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Author Notes: Years ago, I won a contest for the best use of cranberries in a dessert by topping Crème Brulée with my homemade Cranberry Sauce. Last summer I started thinking about that and decided to try it with my favorite summer fruit, red raspberries. Their tartness provides a delicious counterpoint to the smooth, sweet custard. —ChefJune
Makes 6 servings
for the Custard:
- 4 cups heavy cream (preferably not ultra-pasteurized)
- 1/2 fresh vanilla bean
- 8 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- pinches of fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole raspberry sauce (recipe follows)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the cream into a medium-size saucepan. Using a sharp knife, slit the vanilla bean half lengthwise. Scrape the insides into the pan, along with the shell of the bean. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove and set aside for 15 minutes. Remove the bean (and rinse off to make vanilla sugar).
- Meanwhile, place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until blended. Add the cream and vanilla mixture and mix well. Place 6 shallow, oval gratin dishes, about 4 or 5 inches long, in a baking dish. Pour the custard into the dishes. Add enough hot water to the baking dish to reach halfway up the sides of the gratin dishes. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cream sets but does not brown. Remove the gratins and place them, uncovered, in the refrigerator for an hour (at least). [The recipe can be made ahead up to this point and refrigerated overnight.]
- Before serving, bring the custard to room temperature (about ½ hour). The best way to brulée the topping is to use a blowtorch. If you don’t have one, you can preheat broiler to maximum temperature. Set the oven rack within 1 to 1 1/2 inches from the element. Evenly spread about 1/4 cup of raspberry sauce on each custard. Sprinkle the top of each gratin dish with sugar. Place on a tray and slide under the hot broiler until topping is caramelized and crispy (about 7 minutes). Serve at once.
for the Raspberry Sauce:
- 3/4 cup cane sugar
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
- 1 pint fresh raspberries
- In a non-reactive saucepan, combine sugar, orange juice concentrate and water. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil. Add raspberries, and return mixture to the boil. Simmer gently for about 12 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. Chill. Makes about 2 1/4 cups. (You won’t need all of it for the custards.)
- Teacher’s Tips: 1. When heating the cream, bring it to a boil, but do not let it continue to cook for any length of time. Remove it from the heat as soon as a genuine boil (bubbles all over the surface) is achieved. 2. It’s important to use cane sugar, because I’ve found beet sugar makes a grainy custard.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Berry Recipe
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Raspberries