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Cowboy Creme Brulees

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  • Total: 3 hr 45 min (includes cooling and chilling times)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 vanilla bean, split 

5 large egg yolks 

6 tablespoons superfine sugar, plus extra for sprinkling 

1 tablespoon lemon zest 

Black and Blue Berries, recipe follows, for garnish

Black and Blue Berries:

2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries

2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1/2 cup sugar 

1/2 cup blackberry jam 

1 tablespoon honey 

1 teaspoon lemon zest 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Directions

Special equipment:
shallow oven-safe ramekins; a kitchen blowtorch
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Pour the cream into a saucepan over medium-low heat. Scrape the vanilla caviar (seeds) from the vanilla bean and add it to the cream. Bring almost to the boil, then turn off the heat.
  3. Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and add the sugar. With a whisk, mix the eggs and sugar together like crazy until they are a very pale yellow, about 4 minutes.
  4. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pour the hot cream into the bowl through the strainer to remove any skin or impurities in the cream.
  5. Slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of the hot cream into the egg/sugar mixture while whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking. Continue adding the rest of the hot cream to the bowl very slowly, whisking constantly until fully incorporated. You can add the cream a little more rapidly as the mixture warms; touch the side of the bowl to gauge the mixture's temperature. Gently stir in the lemon zest.
  6. Arrange 4 shallow ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Ladle the mixture into the ramekins until they are roughly three-quarters of the way full. Carefully place the baking sheet in the oven. With the rack slightly pulled out, gently pour hot water into the baking sheet until it reaches two-thirds of the way up the outside of the ramekins.
  7. Bake until the custard is set but not brown on the top, roughly 22 minutes. Watch closely as these can brown very quickly toward the end. Allow them to cool completely on the baking sheet.
  8. Refrigerate the custard-filled ramekins, covered, for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  9. When you are ready to serve, sprinkle each of the custards generously with superfine sugar. Using a kitchen torch, crisp the sugar until it is light brown and just bubbling; a back and forth motion works best. Be sure to work quickly to avoid cooking the custard below. This step can be done within an hour of serving. Garnish each custard with Black and Blue Berries.

Black and Blue Berries:

  1. Put 1/2 cup each of the blackberries and blueberries in a saucepan and add the sugar, blackberry jam, honey, lemon zest, vanilla extract and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash the berries gently until they are good and broken up.
  2. Add the remaining 2 cups each blackberries and blueberries to a mixing bowl. Pour the warm berry mixture over the fresh berries and fold everything together with a spatula until well coated. Allow everything to cool 10 minutes or so before serving. Serve atop your favorite dessert.

Cook’s Note

This recipe needs to chill for at least 2 hours before serving.