I like to play around with recipes. Throw things in. Smack my chops and rub my chin for a few seconds to weigh in whether or not something will work.
I've done this a few too many times with crème brûlée and yet I'm still going. The first time was great: all smooth, light and custardy, but then I got ambitious and started adding coffee, or amaretto or smoked salt. While these all tasted good I still haven't nailed that dreamy consistency I first achieved and so I'm still feeling my way along, waiting for the day I get a perfect brûlée with extra flair that I can call my own recipe. This comes very close.
Working with Lindt allows me the pleasure of playing with their chocolate on a school night, to distract myself from drinking wine in a heap on the sofa as I am so prone to doing now I've joined the rat race in London. Baking, or cooking in general, is an excellent escape for me.
To evade the end of the bank holiday blues, I decided to turn my hand once more to the brûlée, which I enjoyed in bed at midnight with little more than a spoon. It still wasn't perfect because I overdid the dessicated coconut that I lobbed in so liberally. However, I think using just the dark chocolate range from Lindt is perfect for adding subtle flavours, from the coconut intense I used, which mellows out like mallow, to the malty tones of roasted sesame or even the kick of the chilli - you can check out all the flavours for yourself here.
There's lots of recipes out there for brûlée, but this one doesn't faff about and gets the job done, leaving you a nice bowl of egg whites for making meringue thereafter, too. Thanks to BBC Good Food for keeping it real and not getting frilly.
You will need:
- 425ml double cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 80g golden caster sugar
- 50g chocolate, broken into pieces (I used the Lindt Coconut Dark Chocolate)
- I also threw in a teaspoon of really good vanilla bean extract and a handful of dessicated coconut
The very easy process:
Preheat your oven to 150 degrees and then bring your cream to boil slowly - on a low heat or you'll scorch its sensitive soul.
Let the cream cool for a mo while you snap your chocolate into similarly-sized pieces (and pop some in your mouth just to check it tastes ok - this bit is really important). Toss them into the bowl and stir until melted you can see no more swirly ribbons of chocolate.
In a separate bowl, whisk together your egg yolks and half of the sugar before folding in your chocolate-cream mix and anything else you feel like throwing in for good measure.
Pour the mixture into four pretty ramekins. I picked mine up from the local charity shop for less than a bob. Charity shops are always brimming with ramekins. Place bargain ramekins in a deep roasting tin and then pour boiling water to fill about half way up the edge.
25 mins later, and you've got yourself some decadent little pots of joy. Allow to cool, refrigerate and before serving, sprinkle remaining sugar on top and blast with a blow torch or under a hot grill.