- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 vanilla bean, split in 1/2 lengthwise and seeds scraped out and reserved
- Very small pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 mint sprigs, for garnish
- Chocolate-Ginger Shards, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, combine the cream, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the vanilla bean pod and reserved seeds, and salt and bring just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside. Remove and discard the vanilla bean pods. Stir in the Grand Marnier and orange zest.
In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of the sugar and whisk until frothy and the sugar is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Divide between 2 (6-ounce) ramekins. Place in a small roasting pan or baking dish and fill with enough water to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custards are just set and still tremble slightly in the center, 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours.
Preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the top of each custard with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining sugar. Place under the broiler and broil until sugar melts and caramelizes, 1 to 2 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning and turning the custards as they cook. (Alternatively, use a kitchen blow torch to caramelize the sugar.)
Stick the sharp ends of the shards down into each custard, garnish with mint, and serve immediately.
Chocolate Ginger Shards:
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped
Line a small baking sheet with foil and chill.
In the top of a double boiler, or in a small metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the ginger and spoon onto the center of the baking sheet. Spread with a rubber spatula into a rough rectangle and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of ginger, pressing lightly to help adhere.
Chill until firm, about 30 minutes, then break into triangle-shaped pieces (shards).
Yield: garnish for 2 brulees