“Wait, I’ll Go Get the Blanket”
Crème Brûlée is a dessert I’ve had a few times but the very first time I had it with my girlfriend I remember the situation well. We were sitting in front of my Belfast home’s oven waiting for the grill to caramelise our Tesco branded brûlée. I’m sure I made some sarcastic comment on us spending our time sitting in front of the oven so I decided to commit to the action and grab the blanket from the living room and we sat waiting for our dessert all snuggled up.
Cheesy romantic tangent over, for my second recipe of my “Eggcellent Easter” feature, I present to you a single large orange crème brûlée topped with candied orange peel. A dessert to share in context with my story as opposed to the traditional individual ramekins.
Cream, sugar and eggs, that’s all that is needed for a crème brûlée. For this recipe I decided to have a change from vanilla and flavour it with orange. As a note, I do end up using an extra egg and full sized orange at the end of this. I didn’t realise until after I had taken the photo 😦
The processes are simple. Firstly you gently bring the cream to the boil with the flavouring. In this case the orange zest. While that’s happening you whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
The only ‘hard’ bit is to be careful when combining these elements. As with many recipes combining hot liquid with raw eggs, it’s important to slowly combine them together so the temperature of the egg slowly matches the liquid. Doing it all at once will instantly shock the eggs thus scrambling them.
Cooking the crème brûlée in a water bath allows it to keep its smooth texture while also preventing it from cracking. It can be easier to pour the liquid at the oven rather than carrying the whole thing across. After baking, it’ll need to be cooled and then placed in a fridge to set for at least two hours.
After setting in the fridge all that’s left to do is give it it’s signature caramelised topping which simply involves either using a blowtorch or if you don’t own one (like me) then place it under a hot grill until the sugar achieves the desired result.
While waiting for the crème brûlée to set, it’s a good opportunity to prepare garnishes. Completely optional but I think adding the bittersweet candied orange peel and the juice popping out from orange segments add a lot to the dish. Just be sure to serve the dessert quickly if using the orange segments as any running juices will eventually soften the hard sugary exterior.
Making the candied peel is easy. Simply boil the thinly sliced peels in water for 30 seconds. Drain and dry most of the liquid. Finally roll the peel around caster sugar.
Bringing all the elements together I hope you enjoy my Orange Crème Brûlée Topped with Candied Peel.
- 375ml double cream -£1.20
- 2 (or 4 small) oranges – zest -£0.60
- 5 egg yolks – about 100g -£1.05
- 60g caster sugar -£0.10
- 1 orange (zest sliced, segmented) -£0.30
- 40g caster sugar -£0.07
Total cost for 4 servings ~ £3.32 (£0.83 each)
*I use small oranges as those were the ones I have but it is easier to use larger ones especially if you intend to cleanly segment them for a garnish.
- Preheat the oven to 150C Fan.
- Place the orange zest into a saucepan with the double cream. Slowly bring to the boil. Meanwhile combine the egg yolks with the caster sugar and beat with a whisk to a pale colour.
- Pour the boiled cream onto the egg mixture in stages to avoid scrambling the eggs. After combining, carefully pour into either individual ramekins or a larger dish.
- Place the crème brûlée dish into a larger baking tray. Pour in enough hot water to reach three-quarters up the side of the dish(es). Transfer to the oven and cook for approximately 32 minutes or until the crème brûlée has just set.
- Remove the crème brûlée from the bain-marie and cool to room temperature before chilling in a refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- Peel the orange and slice the peel into thin strips.
- Place in boiling water for 30 seconds.
- Drain and dry off most of the water.
- Roll the peel in the caster sugar and set aside until needed.
- With the flesh of the orange, segment while avoiding the membrane. Set aside until needed.