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Berry Patch Crème Brûlée

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

A medley of berries gives a juicy flavor-packed taste to every biteful of this creamy dessert. A touch of framboise lends a delicious uplift.

NotesCaramelizing the Sugar:

Different sugars produce slightly different results when caramelized. Brown sugar tends to melt the quickest, in less than a minute. Superfine and regular granulated sugar melt to form a thin, solid disk. Confectioners’ sugar should be sifted or pressed through a sieve to make an even layer so it will brown evenly. Raw sugars are slower to melt than finer sugars, but produce a nice, even browning.

Oven-Dried Brown Sugar:

Due to the moisture content of brown sugar, it is recommended to dry it before caramelizing. Spread light or dark brown sugar out on a baking sheet in a 1/8-inchlayer and bake in a preheated 275°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned a shade darker. Let cool, place in a small resealable plastic bag, and crush it thoroughly with a rolling pin or flat metal mallet to make fine crystals. Brown sugar treated in this manner has an excellent flavor when caramelized.

The amount of sugar you use to caramelize the top can vary with personal taste and the diameter of the dish. If you use flan dishes, which have a wider diameter, 1 tablespoon of sugar is a good amount for each dish. With a 6-ounce or smaller ramekin, which has a 4-inch or less diameter, about 2 teaspoons of sugar will cover the surface nicely.

When caramelizing the sugar topping of dessert cremes brulees under a broiler, you may prefer to place the containers in a pan and fill the pan with cold water and ice to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. This keeps the containers from overheating, and you can serve the desserts immediately (rather than refrigerating them briefly to cool).

Serves6

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionFamily Get-together, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationgluten-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Taste and Texturecreamy, fruity

Type of Dishdessert

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups mixed fresh blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 6 tablespoons for topping
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone or sour cream
  • 1 2/3 cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • 2 tablespoons framboise

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Reserve ½ cup of the berries for garnish. Place six standard-size flan dishes in a baking pan. Divide the remaining berries among the dishes.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale in color. Whisk in the 1/3 cup sugar until dissolved. Whisk in the mas carp one or sour cream, then gradually whisk in the heavy cream. Stir in the framboise.

  3. Divide the custard mixture among the dishes. Pour warm water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the center of each custard still jiggles slightly. Remove from the oven and lift the dishes from the hot water. Let cool briefly, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.

  4. When ready to serve, place the dishes on a baking sheet and evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over each custard. Using a hand-held blowtorch, caramelize the sugar (see Notes). Garnish the top of each dish with the reserved berries.

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