by Lisa Odegard
Some might say creme brulee cannot be improved upon in its classical form of cream, egg yolks and sugar. But ginger adds a zesty kick -- but be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
This recipe is gluten-free, and makes a perfect light dessert for after heavy holiday dinners.
Ginger Creme Brulee Dessert Recipe
5 1/2 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 cup half and half
1 cup cream
1 vanilla bean sliced in half lengthwise
7 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar for sprinkling
4 ounces candied ginger
Preheat oven to 350 F. Put water bath together and put in oven.
Slice ginger into thin slices. Blanch ginger in a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes. (Warning: If you fail to do this step, the acid in the ginger will curdle the dairy mixture.)
Scald half and half and cream with ginger and vanilla bean, steeping for 20-25 minutes, then strain ginger and vanilla out of the cream.
Whisk yolks and ginger juice in mixer at medium to high speed. Leave the mixer on high and slowly temper cream mixture into eggs. Pour the mixture back into a heavy bottomed stockpot and cook on low for about 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to thicken.
Strain through fine mesh strainer and pour into eight shallow 6-ounce custard cups.
Put cups carefully into the water bath and cover with foil and cook for 20-35 minutes. You want the mixture to be set but still moving in the center when you gently shake it. Remove cups from water bath to halt the cooking temperature and refrigerate for 3-4 hours to cool. Carefully pat the surface dry with a paper towel if any water has accumulated on the surface of the custard.
When cooled, sprinkle each ramekin with 2 teaspoons of sugar and swirl around to make sure that the sugar has completely coated the surface. Using a torch, quickly caramelize the sugar on top; sugar should brown and become hard.
(If you want to use a broiler, turn setting on high. Then quickly place all ramekins you have sugared on a sheet pan and put under the broiler until the sugar has browned, less than a minute.)
Once the sugar has caramelized, sprinkle each ramekin with 1/2 ounce of candied ginger.