Chocolate and Rosemary Creme Brulee
To most of us, Creme Brulee is a deliciously rich custard topped with a caramelized sugar. But there is so much more to this creamy deliciousness. The name Creme Brulee (Krem Bru Lei) is a French word meaning burnt cream. The dessert is served cold. However, it may feel warm as the topping of caramelized sugar is torched just before serving. Many people often enjoy it without the torched sugar topping. Traditionally, the cream is infused with vanilla. Over the years, however, other flavors have also gained popularity.
Creme Brulee is in fact, one of the oldest documented dessert recipes. In 1691 a French Master Chef, François Massialot, published a cookbook entitled Le cuisinier roïal et bourgeois (Roughly translated as, The Chef that declares himself royalty). This cookbook contained none other than a recipe for Creme Brulee, where a red-hot fire rod is used to give the custard it’s signature caramelized sugar topping.
A very similar dessert named Crèma Catalana originated in Spain in medieval times. It is believed by many to be the inspiration for Creme Brulee.
What chocolate mousse had been to the 1960s, creme brulee was to the 1990s, suddenly appearing on almost every restaurant menu. It’s truly a great British classic that easily lends itself to variations like this one – a smooth, velvety chocolate custard topped with a very crunchy caramel.
Chocolate (dark or milk) can stand up to stronger flavors, like mint. And at first, I did consider adding mint, but just didn’t seem exciting enough…So taking inspiration from my innate fondness for herbs, I decide to try rosemary instead. My, oh my! Delicious, creamy, sweet and sophisticated. That’s how I can describe it.
Who knew a basic ‘custard’ could be so refined and make your taste-buds dance?!
The rosemary gives a subtle hint of floral, with savory notes, which help balance and marries gorgeously with the milk and dark chocolate I used here.
Let me tell you, Chocolate Rosemary Creme Brû
lée is memorable. I had some milk chocolate with me and a lot of dark chocolate. So I used all of the milk chocolate and a little of the dark chocolate here. I used the Amul sugar free dark chocolate and it worked well. Creme Brûlée is a lush and silky custard that is so perfect any time of year. Pairing it with fresh herbs changes the flavor profile but not the well loved custard. Rosemary has to be my favorite herb in creme brûlée, it simply works like a magic here, giving the dish an all new dimension.
What works best here is when the fresh rosemary is gently steeped in the cream, allowing the oils to subtly scent and flavor the custard. It’s a simple yet impressive dessert that will WOW your guests and your family.
100 gms chocolate (I used 50gms each of milk chocolate and dark chocolate)
550 ml Amul cream
3-4 small sprigs of Rosemary
6 Egg yolks
30 gms white sugar
2 tsp extra white sugar per person for topping
- In a pan on low heat, add cream, the chocolate pieces, rosemary leaves until chocolate has melted
- Take pan off the heat and let it infuse for 5 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 260 deg Celcius.
- Beat egg yolks and 30 gms of sugar with a whisk, until creamy and pale in color.
- Stir the cream into the egg mixture, then strain through a fine sieve into a pouring jug.
- Divide mixture into oven-proof ramekins and bake for 35-40 minutes until just set with a wobbly center.
- Chill the brulées in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar on top of each and place under a boiler, grill in a microwave or use a blow torch to caramelize the tops. If you don’t have any of these you can also use a spoon for caramelizing the sugar. Just heat the back of the spoon on the gas and place it on top of the sugar till it melts. Keep repeating till all the sugar has melted. This process of course is a little tedious. If nothing out of these works for you, just caramelize some sugar in a pan and pour a thin layer of it on each of the ramekins with the help of a spoon. (The effect will be a little different though)
- Leave caramel to set for a few minutes before touching (it’s HOT!)
- Ideally set back in the fridge for a good 30 minutes before serving.