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It's a fruit and custard classic ... but prettier and easier to make.

It's a fruit and custard classic . . . but prettier and easier to make

Glistening strands of melted sugar form acrackly caramel not over fruit and custard in this stunning variation on creme brulee. Not only is this dessert prettier than the classic; it's also easier to make.

First you bake a tender custard, flavoredto complement the fruit you've chosen as a topping.

To caramelize sugar, you simply heat it ina pan until it melts and turns a delicate amber color. Drizzle this hot liquid over fruit arranged on the cooled custard; the caramel takes just a few minutes to become crisp and

brittle.

As the caramel absorbs moisture from thedessert, it will quickly start to melt. Serve the dessert as soon as it's assembled, so you get to savor the contrasting textures.

Peach-Blueberry Crackle Brulee

5 large eggs

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups milk

1 1/4 cups whipping cream or light cream(half-and-half)

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur suchas Grand Marnier or triple sec

Boiling water

2 medium-size firm-ripe peaches

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup blueberries

In a bowl, whisk eggs and 3/4 cup of thesugar just until eggs are blended but not frothy. Gently whisk in milk, cream, lemon peel, vanilla, almond extract, and liqueur just to blend well.

Set a shallow 10-inch round (or shallow1 1/2-qt.) baking dish (such as a quiche or pie pan) in a larger pan (such as a roasting pan). Place both on center rack of a 350| oven. Pour egg mixture into the smaller dish, and pour boiling water into larger pan; water should be 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the custard mixture.

Bake until custard jiggles only slightly incenter when gently shaken, about 18 minutes. Protecting your hands, lift custard dish from hot water (you can support dish with 2 wide spatulas) and let cool on a rack. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour or overnight.

Up to 1 hour before serving, half-fill a 3- to4-quart pan with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immerse peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds; lift out with a slotted spoon. Let cool (to speed, immerse briefly in cold water), then pull skin from fruit with a knife. Cut peaches in half; cut each half into 4 wedges. Discard pits. Coat wedges with lemon juice to slow darkening. Drain off lemon juice.

Arrange peaches on custard, leaving a 1-inchborder of custard inside dish rim. Scatter berries over peaches.

About 15 minutes before serving, put theremaining 1/2 cup sugar in an 8- to 10-inch frying pan (nonstick, if desired) over medium-high heat. Heat, tilting and shaking pan frequently, until sugar melts and becomes a pale amber syrup, about 8 minutes; watch closely, since it scorches easily. Remove at once from heat.

Tilt pan to pool caramel in 1 side. Stirslowly with a long-handled metal teaspoon until caramel thickens, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Working quickly, pour syrup from spoon in a thin stream, crisscrossing fruit and custard to create a golden lace topping; use all the caramel. Let stand about 3 minutes for caramel to harden.

To serve, break through caramel with aspoon and ladle portions of fruit and custard onto dessert plates. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Berry Crackle Brulee

Prepare peach-blueberry crackle brulee(recipe precedes), but omit the lemon peel and almond extract and add 2 teaspoons grated orange peel.

Instead of peaches, blueberries, and lemonjuice, use 2 cups strawberries (rinsed, hulled, and drained well) and 1/2 cup respberries (rinsed and drained well). Arrange strawberries, tips up, in a single layer atop custard, leaving a 1-inch border of plain custard inside dish rim. Tuck raspberries among the strawberries, then coat with caramel.

Cherry Crackle Brulee

Prepare peach-blueberry crackle brulee(recipe precedes), but omit peaches, lemon juice, and blueberries. Instead, use 2 cups pitted sweet cherries, such as Bing. Arrange cherries atop custard, leaving a 1-inch border of plain custard inside dish rim, then coat with caramel.

Photo: 1. Pour boiling water into larger pan toinsulate custard so it cooks evenly

Photo: 2. Scatter blueberries over peachslices on cooled, baked custard

Photo: 3. Melt sugar, shaking pan, until itbecomes a golden caramel liquid

Photo: 4. Drizzle hot caramel over top;it hardens in a few minutes

Photo: Break through a delicate golden webof crackly caramelized sugar to dish up smooth custard, juicy peaches, blueberries. Bake custard ahead; top with fruit and caramel just before serving--caramel melts on standing
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Aug 1, 1987
Words:770
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