If you’re looking for a new dessert to make for the holidays this year, we suggest this jasmine Creme Brûlée from San Francisco’s Foreign Cinema Cookbook. It sounds like it might be a little daunting, but this holiday dessert can be made up to three days ahead of time and served at a Christmas dinner, New Year’s party, or any night of the week. We would use jasmine tea to steep in the milk and create a twist on this perfect classic dessert. The following is an excerpt from Foreign Cinema Cookbook.
Classic custard is the ideal base for infusing botanicals like jasmine flowers, the ethereal effect evoking the splendor of the garden. The best tool for producing the crackly caramelized sugar crust is a kitchen torch, which can be found in most kitchen stores or online. If you don’t have one, you can finish the custards under the broiler following the instructions in the recipe.
Make Ahead The custards can be made up to 3 days ahead; cover tightly and refrigerate, finishing the sugared tops just before serving.
- 6 large egg yolks
- 3 cups (720 ml) heavy cream
- ⅓ cup (65 g) plus 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup (29 g) fresh, unsprayed jasmine flowers, 1 tablespoon loose jasmine tea, or 1 teaspoon pure jasmine extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325˚F (165°C).
- Place six 4-ounce (120-ml) ramekins in a 9 by 13-inch (23 by 33-cm) baking pan or other pan large enough to accommodate them without touching. Heat enough boiling water to reach one-third of the way up the sides of the ramekins in the pan.
- Set a fine-mesh strainer over a 4-cup (960-ml) heatproof measuring cup or bowl with a pouring spout. Have on hand a kitchen torch.
- In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, ⅓ cup (65 g) of the sugar, the jasmine, and salt. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean and drop in the pod as well. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the sugar dissolves and small bubbles begin to form around the sides. Add about ¼ cup (60 ml) of the warm cream mixture to the eggs, whisking to incorporate. Add the rest of the cream to the eggs in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly so as not to curdle the eggs. Immediately pour the mixture through the strainer, then distribute evenly among the ramekins. Use a spoon to skim away any foam on top of the custards.
- Reheat the water, then pour it into the pan to reach one-third of the way up the sides of the ramekins, taking care not to splash it into the custards.
- Cover the baking pan with foil and bake until the custards are set but are still slightly jiggly in the center, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the pan to a heatproof surface and remove the foil, taking care to avoid the cloud of hot steam. Use tongs to carefully transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool slightly. Individually wrap the cooled ramekins in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours.
- To serve, sprinkle a spoonful of the remaining sugar over the top of each custard, gently spreading it with the back of a spoon to create a thin, even layer. Holding the torch close to the surface of the custards, wave the flame back and forth until the sugar melts completely and turns amber, 30 to 60 seconds each. Alternatively, to finish the custards in the broiler, set an oven rack in the highest position and turn the broiler to high. Place the custards on a baking sheet and broil until the tops are golden brown all over, 5 to 10 minutes, watching them carefully and rotating them frequently to avoid burning.
- Let the custards cool slightly, allowing the caramel to harden, then serve immediately.
Excerpted from Foreign Cinema Cookbook © 2018 by Gayle Pirie and John Clark. Photography and excerpt reproduced with permission.