Recipe for Honey Citrus Lavender Crème Brûlée
One of my favorite desserts of all-time is crème brûlée. That first break through the flame-caramelized layer of sugar is so incredibly satisfying, as is that sweet vanilla bean taste. Years ago while gazing the spice section of a local market, a small packet of cooking lavender caught my eye. Lavender is my favorite essential oil. My favorite bath products, lotions, and sleepy-time diffusing mist have lavender, but food? I decided to add it to a simple crème brûlée recipe and it turned out amazing. I've been making it for friends and family ever since.... and here is my twist on a traditional vanilla bean crème brûlée.... It makes 5 servings.
*2 cups heavy cream
* 2 tablespoons honey
*2 tablespoons coarsely chopped lemon peel
*3 tablespoons of dried culinary lavender flowers
*1/8 teaspoon salt
*3 egg yolks
*1 whole egg
*1/4 cup granulated sugar
*2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the cream, honey, lemon peel, lavender, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil. Once it begins to bubble, remove from the heat and cover with the lid, allowing the mixture to steep for 10 minutes (like a cup of tea). After the steeping is finished, strain the mixture and discard the solid bits, returning the smooth cream mixture back to the saucepan. (You may have to rinse and wipe the saucepan, as some of the lavender flowers may stick to the inside of the pan).
In a medium bowl, whisk the whole egg, egg yolks, and sugar together until smooth. Slowly add some of the hot cream mixture (about 1/2 cup) to the egg mixture, constantly whisking, to avoid egg curdle. Add one additional 1/2 cup and continue whisking. Add the tempered contents of the bowl back to the saucepan, whisk, and add the vanilla.
Arrange 5 ramekins in a deep baking dish, pour the mixture equally between the them, then add hot tap water into the baking dish, half way up the sides of the ramekins.
Place the baking dish with the ramekins carefully into the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the custard is set on the edges and jiggly in the middle. Allow the custard to cool before covering each with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours prior to finalizing the dessert. This can be done the day before as well. (This is what a standard crème brûlée would have you do....but I'm a bit of a rebel and I prefer my custard on the warm side while others prefer a cool dessert. So I just let the ramekin cool on the stove top until I am able to safely hold it (you can also place it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes) then I proceed with the sugar and caramelization process).
Place a thin uniform layer of granulated sugar on top. If you don't have a culinary flame torch, set your oven to broil and place the ramekins on the top rack until the sugar melts and caramelize (keeping a close eye not to burn it). If you are using the flame torch, flame the sugar until melted and caramelized. Place them in the fridge for 5-10 minutes until the sugar is cool and hardened like a shell.... then serve with whatever topping you wish to use as decorations, such as berries, mint, or a fresh lavender sprig.
Enjoy & Mangia!!