Maple Crème Brûlée

Now is the time for maple.

It’s cold, and finally feeling wintery here in the Ozarks. So what better way to celebrate the season than with the nostalgia that accompanies maple—snowy days, warm pancakes, hot teas, and fireplaces. Maple is really having its moment in the food world right now and is appearing in new ways and in more places than ever. So we decided to work up a maple crème brûlée recipe for you.

I love crème brûlée, I mean, really, who doesn’t? I’ve been known to make a batch, and eat them for breakfast, dinner, and as a late night snack before bed. Really, though, who would say no to crème brûlée for breakfast?

Some people might be intimidated by the dish, thinking it to be too restauranty to make at home. But I argue otherwise. They’re the perfect dessert, especially, in my opinion, for the winter. You can make them ahead of time and store them for up to three days. When it’s time for dinner, or that dinner party (aren’t there some big food holidays coming up soon?), you can just pop them under the broiler for a minute and volià! You have yourself a beautiful, impressive, and effortless dessert. Or, if you happen to own a blowtorch (one of my favorite kitchen gadgets) you can make a show of it, and each person will feel special that you took the time to individually caramelize the top of their dessert, just for them.

Also, regarding the recipes, I made this dish two ways, one with a touch of maple extract to give it a more punchy maple flavor, and one without, which leaves a more mild and subtle sweetness. The choice is yours, depending on just how much you like your maple.

Finally, remember the whiskey and waffles recipe we made a few months back? The one with the maple bourbon ice cream? Well, you can take that same recipe, and instead of chilling it and popping it in an ice cream maker, just pour it into ramekins and bake it!

So stay warm out there, wherever you are. Spread some love with your food. 

Maple Crème Brûlée
Serves 6

Ingredients:
4 cups heavy cream
½ cup maple syrup
7 egg yolks
2 tbsp. brown sugar
Pinch of salt
½ tsp. maple extract (optional)
Sugar for caramelizing

Directions:

1.     Preheat oven to 300°F.

2.     In a saucepan, whisk together the heavy cream and maple syrup. Cook over medium-low heat, not stirring, until a thin skin forms on top of the cream. Do not bring to a simmer.

3.     Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks, sugar, salt, and maple extract, if you’re using it.

4.     Once your cream is hot, while whisking your egg yolks, add the cream a little bit at a time, in a slow, steady stream. Strain your mixture through a fine sieve to make sure you haven’t cooked any of your eggs.

5.     Place this mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has slightly thickened and coat the back of a spoon. Strain again.

6.     Place six ramekins in a baking dish and fill the dish with boiling water so that the water reaches about 2/3 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Pour the custard into the ramekins and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the custard has set but still has a slight jiggle to it. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before placing in the refrigerator to set overnight.

7.     To serve, sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of sugar over each crème Brûlée and caramelize either using a blowtorch or under the broiler of the oven. 

 

Vanilla Bourbon Crème Brûlée
Serves four

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
½ cup brown sugar, packed
6 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
A pinch of Kosher salt
¼ cup bourbon
(1 tsp. vanilla extract if you’re not using a sweet or vanilla bourbon)

Follow the same steps as above, but wait until after your mixture has thickened on the stove to add your bourbon.