When my neighbor gave me a basket of fresh strawberries from her farm, I began to think of all the ways I could use them; after thinking the matter over carefully, I decided there was nothing better I could possibly use them for than strawberry crème brulee.
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It took a few tries to get right, and the first attempts were absolute disasters. By trying different things and cross-referencing recipes, I finally figured it out and became able to replicate my success. The fruits of my labors can be found in the recipe that follows. I am excited to share this perfect, hassle-free recipe for an amazing, elegant, creamy and rich strawberry crème brûlée.
But before I share my recipe with you, let’s talk about strawberry crème brulee itself.
What is a Crème Brulee?
For those who still don’t know what I’m referring to, strawberry Crème Brûlée is a dessert consisting of a custard base and a topping of caramelized sugar. It is a delicious dessert with a little twist, involving the use of fresh strawberries and caramelized sugar. One can either choose to add strawberry sauce to the custard or simply put chopped strawberries in the bowls before pouring the custard in, allowing for a delightful reveal.
Strawberry crème brûlée is the perfect dessert for any special occasion whether it be Christmas, New Year’s Day, Mother’s Day or Thanksgiving. The crispy, burnt sugar is actually the best part of this dessert and I just can’t seem to get enough of it.
It may interest you to know that this dessert has other names, some of which include Trinity cream, burnt creme, Crema Catalana according to the Catalans and Cambridge burnt cream.
Looking at the origin of this amazing dessert recipe, it is said that France, England and Spain all claim to be the country where crème brûlée originated. The only thing we know for sure is that the first printed recipe for crème brûlée came from a French cookbook.
The recipe for Crème Brûlée wasn’t usually featured in cookbooks until the 1980s when it became really popular. Crème Brûlée is made with four major ingredients: heavy cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. This happens to be the traditional ingredient list, but over time other flavors and twists have been introduced.
Crème Strawberry Brulee Recipe
There are quite a lot of ways you can prepare this tasty and delicious dessert but the recipe I am going to share with you today was formulated from extensive trial and error. While nothing is truly perfect, you can get close, and I believe that I have with this recipe.
Let’s take look at how to prepare strawberry crème brûlée from scratch.
It is recommended that you begin the process a day before.
To prepare this mouthwatering recipe from scratch, you will need the following strawberry creme brulee ingredients:
For the strawberry vanilla custard, the ingredients listed below are required:
- 3 cups of heavy cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 pint of fresh strawberry
- Chef’s torch
Preheat oven to 180° C.
In a large bowl, combine the large eggs yolk and granulated sugar, mix thoroughly until a thick pale-yellow paste is formed. Set the mixture aside
Pour the cups of heavy cream into a medium saucepan. Use the tip of your sharp knife to remove the seed from the vanilla bean and transfer it to your cream. Mix gently and simmer over medium-low heat. This step is about hitting the perfect sweet spot between simmering and boiling. Be very careful that the mixture doesn’t over boil.
Once the cream is warm and ready, sieve the mixture through a mesh to remove seeds and any form of pulp so it becomes smooth. Pour a cup of the smooth cream over the egg and sugar mixture and whisk thoroughly; do not add too much as this might scramble the eggs.
Divide the mixture between six ramekins evenly. Add a single cup of fresh halved strawberries to each ramekin. The strawberries should be seen floating on top of the custard, covering the surface.
Cover the ramekin with aluminum foil and transfer to a baking tray or baking sheet. Pour water into the baking tray up to half the height of the ramekins to prevent them from cracking. Put the tray in the oven and bake for at least 20-30 minutes and set aside to cool or store in a fridge overnight.
Sprinkle sugar evenly on the surface of the brulee. Use the chef torch to carefully golden brown the sugar. This allows for the thin, crisp over the surface of the brulee. Garnish with the chopped strawberries. Serve immediately and enjoy.
Voila: you have made the best strawberry crème Brulee.
Note: Due to the fact that vanilla bean pods can get expensive, feel free to substitute them with vanilla essence or vanilla bean paste. Split the vanilla bean pod properly with the use of a knife (a sharp one, preferably), slicing along the length of the pod and gently removing the seeds. Then, transfer them to the cream.
Ensure that you don’t throw away the pods as they are still pretty flavorful. To get a more intense vanilla infusion, you can cook the pods with the cream.
It is imperative that you cook the custards ramekins in the water bath, as this ensures all-around cooking of the custards.
Try not to overcook the custards as overcooking can produce a custard with a crumbly texture. If you happen to own an oven that heats quickly, constantly check your ramekins to see how ready they are. Feel free to open your oven door as many times as possible as custards (unlike cakes) are not in any way disturbed by this.
To know if your ramekins are properly cooked, use a utensil (a heatproof one so you don’t get burned in the process) to tap the custard. If they are firm, with the center being a little less firm, they are done.
Bossing your crème brûlée like a professional chef
Worried about not having a chef’s touch? Worry no more, as you can easily make the crème Brulee with the hardened sugar top yourself! This involves carefully covering the top of custard with a good amount of sugar and heating in your broiler. Make sure to watch them closely, as sugar brulees faster than you might expect and will not only burn the top but also re-heat the custard, which you don’t want.
Note: You can ditch the process of making the strawberry sauce and use chopped strawberries instead. For this method, the custard is prepared without the strawberry sauce. The chopped strawberries are added to the Ramekin molds right before the custard is poured in.
Additionally, the strawberries in this recipe can be substituted with other berries including raspberries and blueberries. Got only blueberries and no strawberries? No problem. Just substitute the blueberries for strawberries in this recipe.
If you decide to do this, pour the blueberry sauce into the Ramekin molds before pouring in the custard. At this point, you are already halfway to preparing a classic, rich, refreshing Crème Brûlée with a blueberry-flavored twist. Passion fruit works for this recipe as well and they also make a very delicious fruit crème Brulee. This recipe can be easily adapted to any flavor.
Strawberry crème brûlée looks elegant but is surprisingly easy to make; it’s also a fantastic dessert to make for friends and family. I must warn you, though, that there is a high possibility you will become addicted. Why are you still reading? Treat your taste buds to this amazing dessert!