Brown Sugar Custard with Strawberry Compote, Whipped Creme Fraiche and Almond Honeycomb

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Custard:

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped

4 large egg yolks

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Compote:

24 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

3/4 cup granulated sugar

Pinch ground cloves

Pinch kosher salt

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup creme fraiche

Fresh mint, for garnish

Honeycomb Candy:

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup corn syrup

2 tablespoons honey

Pinch kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions

Special equipment:
a candy thermometer
  1. For the custard: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Combine the cream and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan and cook until it reaches 180 degrees F or tiny bubbles form on the side of the pot.
  3. Combine the egg yolks, brown sugar and salt in a large bowl and whisk until light and smooth in color. Slowly add the hot cream mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the yolks from overcooking.
  4. Transfer the custard to a large measuring cup or pitcher, then divide it among four 8-ounce mason jars, filling about two-thirds of the way full. Place them in a deep baking dish. Fill the baking dish with hot water, coming about halfway up the sides of the jars. Cover the jars with aluminum foil and transfer to the oven; bake until the custard jiggles like gelatin when the jars are tapped, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, uncover and transfer to the refrigerator to chill until set, about 1 hour and up to overnight. Alternatively, place in the freezer for 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. For the compote: Prepare an ice bath and set aside.
  6. Combine the strawberries, granulated sugar, cloves, salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the strawberries are soft, the liquid is syrupy and the bubbles are thick and slow, about 20 minutes. Cool down completely over the ice bath. (The compote will thicken as it cools.) Finish with the lemon juice.
  7. For the honeycomb candy: Line a baking dish with parchment paper.
  8. Spread the almonds in an even layer on a second baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly golden and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  9. Combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, honey, salt and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepot. Whisk the solution together gently and wipe the sides of the pot down with water so it does not have any sugar crystals stuck to it. Heat the solution over medium heat until it reaches 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes. Fold in the almonds and whisk in the baking soda. Immediately pour the mixture out into the lined baking dish, using a rubber spatula to smooth into an even layer. Let cool completely, about 45 minutes.
  10. Cut the honeycomb into sticks or break into shards.
  11. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the creme fraiche with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.
  12. Place a large spoonful of the strawberry compote on top of each custard and top with a dollop of the whipped creme fraiche. Stick a shard or stick of the honeycomb into each and garnish with the fresh mint.