Lavender-Honey Crème Brûlée

September 22, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I developed this for my dessert menu about 10 years ago to bring a touch of France to a small resort community in Northern California. It never went off the menu. When the daughter and I were in France and Italy recently, when she wasn't eating gelato, she was dipping into crème brûlée (please bear in mind that she'd sworn strict allegiance to the 10,000 calorie a day extreme dancer's diet. I was not, so subsisted on tastes. And she consistently said that it wasn't as good as this. Maybe that was true, and maybe she was being kind to the walking debit card.

I like to use honey here because it lends an earthy note to an otherwise all-dressed-up dessert. Please be sure to use organic lavender for what I trust are obvious reasons. In the end, few desserts comprise simpler ingredients or are simpler to prepare . . . . and more elegant to present. Watch out for the woman who isn't afraid of fire. —boulangere

What You'll Need
  • Ounce 12 ounces heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon organic lavender blossoms
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons sugar for caramelizing at the end
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Pour cream into a stainless steel saucepan. Stir in lavender blossoms. Place over medium heat and cook to a scald. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 15 minutes. At end of steeping period, place a fine-mesh sieve over the measuring cup you used for the cream and pour cream over it. Kiss the lavender blossoms goodbye.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the whole egg. Add the honey and whisk until completely blended. If your mixing bowl wants to wander on you, set it on a towel.
  4. Whisk in the cream in a slow steady stream, whisking continuously. You don't want to scramble your eggs.
  5. Pour the mixture into your measuring cup. Now divide it equally among 4 4-ounce ramekins set on a small baking sheet or small casserole dish.
  6. Rinse the measuring cup and fill it with very hot tap water. Set the baking sheet in the oven, but overhanging the front edge a bit. Pour in enough hot water to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Gently push it the rest of the way into the oven.
  7. Bake custards for about 20 minutes. When done, gently tap the side of a ramekin. If the custard “jiggles like jello, but does not wiggle like a wave,” it is done.
  8. I like to use a canning jar lifter to pick up the ramekins and set them out to cool. Leave the baking sheet of hot water in the oven with the door ajar until it is cool enough to handle safely.
  9. Let custards cool to room temperature before serving. To finish, sprinkle about a teaspoon of sugar over the surface of each one. Caramelize the sugar to a deep brown with a torch. Serve immediately. Prepare to hear "oh-la-la!"

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • wssmom
  • Bevi
  • mrslarkin
  • hardlikearmour

17 Reviews

TheWimpyVegetarian September 29, 2011
This is just lovely - both your daughter and the Creme Brulee. Thanks for sharing your photos, your family and food with us!!
boulangere September 29, 2011
Oh, thank you so much CS!
wssmom September 26, 2011
When I lose the 15 pounds I packed on this summer from recipe testing, this is No. 1 on the list. Just lovely! p.s. Your daughter is beautiful!
boulangere September 26, 2011
Thank you so much. I brought a few souvenir pounds home with me, too.
TheWimpyVegetarian September 29, 2011
I TOTALLY understand. I am on a diet now, and have lost 3 pounds and it has taken forever!
boulangere October 2, 2011
Sheesh, it was so easy and so much fun putting on the pounds, but going in the other direction is seriously like work.
Bevi September 24, 2011
What a trip you had! These photos remind me of the journey my daughter and I took a few years ago - one of those times the term "walking debit card" comes into play.
boulangere September 24, 2011
Thank you, Bevi. I had a feeling there were some who could identify with the thought. And yes, we had a magnificent time.
mrslarkin September 23, 2011
oh my. it all sounds so delightful!
boulangere September 23, 2011
Thank you so much.
hardlikearmour September 23, 2011
I love lavender and honey, though I've mainly had it as a lemonade. This sounds heavenly.
boulangere September 23, 2011
We made this today with some fresh raspberries tossed in. If you try it, please let us know your verdict.
LydiaPW September 22, 2011
The most amazing creme brulee in the world. Literally.
boulangere September 22, 2011
We were just talking about this this afternoon, and tomorrow night I'm teaching it in a French Cooking class whose menu is straight out of our trip. I thought I'd post it here because it is so simply wonderful in every sense of the words. I love you!
drbabs September 22, 2011
Y'all are so sweet.
boulangere September 22, 2011
P.S. Do you recognize the photos?
boulangere September 22, 2011
Love that y'all!