Valentine's Day Crème Brûlée: A Chocolate Alternative
Valentine's Day is known for rich desserts and boxes of chocolates. Isn't it every girl's dream to get a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates, to be swept off her feet by the man she loves? Mmm, perhaps not.
I was recently part of a discussion on how some women, who shall remain nameless, prefer eggs and bacon to boxes of chocolates, and then women who would rather eat a maple bacon donut than indulge in a chocolate fondue. Picture it: A steaming hot woman shamelessly enjoying a meaty rib and then seductively licking her fingers, one at a time. What isn't romantic about that?
So, believe it or not, there are those who would rather forego the chocolate and opt for something less, well, chocolatey. Men and women alike. What, then, are you to do if planning the perfectly romantic evening, complete with indulgent dessert?
A classic crème brûlée can easily become the answer. Luscious and creamy, it definitely fulfills the indulgent side, and topped with red berries and a sprig of mint, it's a Valentine's Day treat for the non-chocolate lover and one that the chocolate lover will enjoy, too.
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- Berries and mint leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325º F. Place 6 ramekins in a 9x13" baking pan lined with a clean, damp towel.
Start a teapot or large pot of water over high heat to boil. While the oven is preheating and the water heating, in a medium saucepan mix together cream and vanilla bean pod and seeds. Bring just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes.
Whisk together sugar and egg yolks until they are a creamy yellow and start to thicken. Strain the cream through a fine mesh sieve. Gradually and very slowly whisk the cream mixture into the egg and sugar, whisking continually.
Pour mixture into the ramekins. Place the pan in the preheated oven and then pour the hot water into the pan around the ramekins so that it comes halfway up the sides. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until set with some jiggle in the center. Remove from oven, allow to cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar over the top of each dish. Use a torch to caramelize the sugar to golden brown. Allow to cool and harden. Top with berries and mint and serve.
Makes 6 crème brûlée desserts.