Thursday, 29 March 2012

Mint Creme Brulee

The conversation over at Andrea and Darryl's place last night turned to cooking, and I asked why it would be unheard of that fried eggs aren't ever considered a dessert. After all, eggs are neither savoury or sweet, so why not have a fried egg atop a cake as a custardy sort of garnish?

Andrea reckoned that the art of frying something makes it savoury, which I don't think holds water, because crepes and French toast can be sweet. Darryl reckons that it's the association with an English breakfast which precludes the fried egg from ever becoming a pudding. I'm not sure about that one either - I'm going to have to come up with a recipe which includes a sweet version of the fried egg and see whether I can start a new trend.

Today's recipe is an eggy dessert, without a hint of a frying pan. Another friend of ours, Ophelia, made us a mint creme brulee a few weeks ago, when we went to her and her fiance (soon to be husband, on April 18th, eek!) Kumar's place for dinner, and I'm not sure I want to eat this classic dessert any other way now.

Creme brulee should be a light dessert with a very fine layer of a caramel crust. Don't use a traditional deep ramekin to serve them in - use a shallow dish with as much surface area as possible. You don't want to be wading through inches of custard with a tiny spot of caramel having already been greedily scoffed, which then becomes a very pleasant but distant memory, while you still have three-quarters of your brulee to finish.

Creme brulee is very cheap and easy to make. Get them made in good time and chill them way before your guests come over - that way you'll have plenty of time to think up a fried egg dessert recipe which you can serve to your friends as a joke, before the brulees are unveiled. £1 per serving, is all that these will set you back.

Serves 4


500ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
100g caster sugar
6 free range egg yolks
12 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of icing sugar, for glazing

Preheat oven to 160c. In a saucepan, heat the double cream with the vanilla pod to boiling point. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the cream and discard the pod. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until fluffy and then pour them into the cream, and stir vigorously to avoid lumps. Fold the chopped mint leaves into the mixture. Fill four shallow ovenproof dishes with the mixture and place in a large roasting tin. Fill the tin with water until the water level comes to halfway up the dishes and then place the tin into the oven to bake for 45 minutes. Take the tin out of the oven and allow the brulees to cool to room temperature. Sprinkle icing sugar over the surface of the brulees, and either grill or blow torch the tops until the sugar turns to caramel. Refrigerate until needed.

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