Sunday, January 16, 2011

Creme Brulee: Dark Chocolate and Orange with Anise

So, the other day I got all inspired to make creme brulee for a dinner with friends because I had gotten lots of lovely eggs from a friend in Louisa. I also have this bottle of Pastis my father brought back from his recent trip to France, which is far too strong for me to consider as a cocktail. So, hey- dessert! Anyway- this was brave and silly on many fronts. I have never made creme brulee before (Shannon has though, and since she was coming over, I knew I could rely on her for help if things got hairy). I have no proper ramekins or dishes for anything like this- so I used my myriad collection of teacups to serve them. I have no brulee torch, but I knew there was one out there somewhere- we had used it before, remember? I also had no idea how many people were actually going to show up for supper, so after I made a batch of about 8 chocolate creme brulees, instead of showering and getting out of the long underwear I had been wearing all day at work, I decided to make another half batch- just in case more people showed up. I am relieved to tell you that it all worked out. And thank goodness for my dear friends who don't care if I have to change my clothes after they have already arrived for supper. And who don't mind if I want to experiment my crazy flavor combinations on them. And who eat my creme brulee sans brulee if I never did remember who it was that had that kitchen torch.

And with that- I give you two flavors of creme brulee-a most forgiving dessert.

Dark Chocolate with Anise

11 egg yolks

1 quart heavy cream
1 tbs Pastis
touch of salt
tsp vanilla
3/4 cup white sugar
1/8 cup cocoa powder

1 3.5oz bar dark chocolate (I used 70 % cacao)

Oven at 325 degrees.

Scramble egg yolks in medium bowl and set aside. On medium low, heat cream, pernod, salt and vanilla. Stir in sugar and cocoa powder until well blended. Break chocolate bar into pieces, and melt into cream mixture.

Take mixture off of heat. Slowly stir in eggs and combine well. Strain into pitcher or batter bowl, then divide evenly between small ovenproof dishes or ramekins. Put dishes in larger roasting pan, and pour water into the pan about halfway up the sides of the ramekins, creating a water bath. Bake about 40 minutes, or until custard is set. Cool in refrigerator (I put mine outside for the sake of space) for a couple of hours- through dinner.

To brulee: Sift about a tablespoon of white sugar on top, and slowly burn sugar with a kitchen torch until caramelized and liquified. Be careful- it is easy to really burn the sugar!

Anise and Orange with Honey

3 egg yolks

10 oz heavy cream
1 TBS orange peel
1 1/2 TBS Pastis
pinch of salt
1 TBS vanilla
1/3 cup honey

Follow cooking directions above- enjoy!


  1. sounds delicious, and if it's any consolation, I still haven't showered.

  2. This is a fantastic recipe. I'm generally not a creme brulee fan. I see it on too many menus and have had too much of the napalm-like sugar burn my fingers during busy dinner service. However, this flavor combination sounds like it would make for a creme worth brulee-ing!

  3. You are both so kind- I, too, have burned myself plenty of times in the hurried pace of a restaurant kitchen. Is there anything hotter? Really it is the staying power of liquified sugar on the skin that still makes me cringe- yowza! And, you will be glad to know that I finally, eventually showered.