Cooking, food, menu planning is as much about your culinary upbringing as it is about your instincts.
Sometimes I’m wrong about a recipe or new riff on a classic. Thank goodness I’m right most of the time. Case in point was this Creme Brulee with Mastic.
Although there are some savory applications for mastic, it seems that this unique Greek spice is more at home in liqueuers, desserts and baked items. I had not ever tasted a Creme Brulee with Mastic but I rolled the dice just before Greek Easter.
Based on the aroma alone, when the ground mastc, vanilla extract simmered in the cream, I knew (was confident) this dessert would work but one is never sure until the final taste-test, are ya?
After a long “Ummmmm” and and equally long exhale, the creme brulee with mastic proved to be a tasty success. I am declaring creme brulee to be one of the easiest, still classiest and delicious desserts one can have. Oh sure, it’s all heavy cream but you deserve a decadent treat every now & then. I deserve a decadent treat every now & then.
The great thing about creme brulee is it’s versatility with flavouring. One could easily raid the liquor cabinet and choose any bottle and spike the cream with it to add a new flavour.
Think of a nut flavouring, a spice (I chose mastic this time) or a tea? Find a reliable creme brulee recipe and the rest is up to you for interpretation. As for putting the “brulee” in the “creme”…you have two options:
- Buy a kitchen torch;
- Use your broiler
I finally splurged on a kitchen torch. Most are quite affordable and they do the job rather well. Gather your friends and family and show off your nifty & new little kitchen toy.
How did I do?
Creme Brulee With Mastic
3 cups of whipping cream
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
4-5 mastic (mastiha) teardrops, ground
extra sugar for brulee
- Pound your mastic tears into a powder using your mortar & pestle or place the mastic tears in between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a heavy kitchen instrument until powder form.
- In a medium-sized pot, add your cream, vanilla extract and ground mastc and over medium heat, bring to a steaming hot heat. Take off the heat and cover. Wait a few minutes before whisking into your eggs/sugar mixture.
- In a bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until incorporated. After you’ve allowed your hot cream to cool a bit, pour into the bowl with egg/sugar mixture while whisking. Pass the mixture through a fine strainer to remove any cooked bits.
- Divide among eight 6.oz ramekins. Place in one large (or two smaller pans) and pour in enough boiling water into the pans to come halfway up the ramekin (this is called a “bain marie”).
- Place on the middle rack of your pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the centers still jiggle. Remove the ramekins from the water and let cool. Cover and place in the fridge for at least two hours.
- To serve with the “brulee” topping, sprinkle some white sugar on top and using your kitchen torch, melt and caramelize the sugar until a deep brown colour. Allow the ramekins to cool for a couple of minutes and serve with a spoon. Get cracking!
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