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Creme Brulee or Crema: A Week’s Compromise

This has been a very strange week, full of oddities, rescheduling, new scheduling, music jobs, extra catering activities, compromises, surprises, and adventures, but such is the life of two people with more than one job and more than one hobby…luckily there is light at the end of the tunnel: a date planned for saturday night.

Following the theme of the week, I was faced with a dilemma when came dessert time the other night. I needed something comforting, reassuring, (actually I could have used a drink!). I stared at the open fridge and it took me a minute to make up my mind, but B. agreed with me that dessert would not be cake or fruit, we needed cream…we needed sugar. If only it had been the end of it! I wanted coconut cream something with a crunchy top, while B. wanted honey cream something without crunch…and the conversation that followed ressembled something of a ping-pong game:
"coconut creme brulee!"
"honey crema!"
"creme brulee!"

Remember: …compromise… So I made one of each, same batter, same cooking time, just a different way to eat them…and I sneaked coconut into B’s crema by infusing the mixture with dessicated coconut and straining it prior to baking. He noticed it but agreed that it added a surprising flavor to the dish….ressembling very much the flavors of our work week.

When it comes to creme brulees, cremas or flan, I follow the same recipes I used at the restaurant, scaled down for home purposes, but I really have no clue where and when they originated since they were taught by the departing pastry chef to the newcomer and so forth so here is one that The Chef showed me and that I eventually passed on also.

Honey Coconut Creme Brulee and Crema:

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk

4 egg yolks

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup dessicated or shredded unsweetened coconut

extra shredded coconut and sugar for the brulee crunchy topping

In a heavy saucepan, bring the cream and milk toma gentle boil. Add the honey and coconut, remove from heat and let infuse for a couple if minutes.

Beat the egg yolks for a minutes and gently temper them with a bit of the hot cream: pour some slowly over the yolks while whisking, when this is incorporated, pour the rest of the cream.

Let the batter cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and divide among 4 ramequins or baking dishes.

Put the dishes in a roasting pan, pour hot water at the bottom of thepan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramequins. Cook for a bout 15-20 minutes ir until it appears set ion the edges but still a little wiggly in the center.

Let cool.

For the Crema:

You can enjoy it at room temperature or eat like my husband: very cold with a cup of steamy coffee.

For the Honey Coconut Brulee variation:

sprinkle some sugar and cocnut on top and put under the broiler until nice golden brown, or use a blow torch if you have one. I was not patient enough (remember.. a week full of oddities and weirdness) so I did not wait for mine to get brown…

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deb March 9, 2007 um 2:47 am

I couldn’t find your email address. I wanted to thank you for your gorgeous suggestions for our but 23 hours in your stunning city. We had a lovely time, and I would have loved to have met you were our trip not so short. I also just realized you told us to skip the Peninsula Grill, but I have to say it was wonderful. Maybe we lucked out?! It seriously made me want to cry that there were so many fantastic places to eat and we had only one stomach each.

My husband, too, is a total pain about coconut and yet as long as there are no flaky, dry pieces, he agrees the results are delicious. Until the next time, when he pretends again that he doesn’t like it. Grr. I just got a creme brulee torch and want to make your recipe, soon. (My husband, meanwhile, will be buying extra smoke detectors.)

MyKitchenInHalfCups March 9, 2007 um 4:42 am

I guess when you’ve done this hundreds of times for so many diners, this is easy to do on the spur of the moment. I have to really plan this out.

Meeta K. Wolff March 9, 2007 um 6:51 am

Helene, you are a clever one. Both look utterly delicious!

Kajal@aapplemint March 9, 2007 um 10:42 am

Looks like the ultimamte thing to make when u really dont want to make an entire cake or dessert, but still need a sugar fix.It gets very difficlut for me to make small quantities and then i end up eating everything…which is not good for the wistline:-).This one looks beautiful and easy.Will have to give it a go.Thanks for sharing.

Cheryl March 9, 2007 um 1:50 pm

I bow down to you now. Creme Brulee is my all time favorite "fancy" dessert.

Alicia March 9, 2007 um 6:20 pm

We had your Dulce de Leche Brioche for breakfast this morning. =)
Very soft and tender, and oh so gooey.
But it really made me wish I had a stand mixer! 😛

Peabody March 10, 2007 um 1:46 am

Whatever you call it, it looks good.

Elle March 10, 2007 um 3:54 am

Compromise can be sweet…and nutty. Hope your next week is better and that Saturday if fun.

Susan from Food Blogga March 10, 2007 um 2:43 pm

I believe in compromise as well. I’ll have both. ;

Lis March 11, 2007 um 12:52 am

Okay, still I have not tried creme brulee (or crema for that matter) – and I think your recipe would be the one I’d like to try first.. how could I go wrong with a recipe passed down from talented pastry chef to talented pastry chef? =)

My question though – I know you added the coconut to your basic creme brulee recipe, but was the honey an addition too, or is that in the original recipe? I’m going to go search your blog now – I’m sure you’ve posted the original, yes?


Anonymous March 11, 2007 um 3:19 am

I see you’re cooking for "him" again. That’s fine … as long as you saved one of these incredible desserts for me!

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