Ginger & Lime Crème Brûlée...

I have a confession to make and it might come as a bit of a shock to perfectionists and French food connoisseurs everywhere, so apologies upfront: I like my crème brûlée slightly overdone, some might call it ruined. I know, I know, it's wrong and I would probably go straight to the back of the cookery class for that one (or be expelled), but it's exactly the "over-doneness" that turns this fairly standard dessert into comfort food heaven. It seems to give it even more creaminess and - dare I say it - turn it from a dessert into a pudding. Yep, a pudding like a kid would eat with a large spoon clenched in a little fist. In a strange way it feels like this to me: perfectly done = summer, overdone = winter. I know, it probably only makes sense to me...

Anyway, that doesn't mean that I'm happy with the standard flavour though as a vanilla pudding would be a little too predictable. No, I wanted to give this dish a bit of a flavoursome twist. Add some warmth and a little zing. Just do something a bit different really. So here comes confession number two: I could have eaten the whole lot on my own - over the course of a day obviously, not in one sitting! A spoonful at a time, going back to the kitchen multiple times. Luckily though I had help and didn't have to sacrifice the button of my jeans. 

Ginger & Lime Crème Brûlée

So, if you feel like cooking up and sharing a comforting crème brûlée or, ahem, custard pudding (let's face it, that's what it really is, right?) with a warming hint of ginger and a zingy addition of lime, then here's my recipe. If you like yours perfectly done (i.e. not overcooked) then simply take 10 minutes off my cooking time. Easy!

Ginger & Lime Crème Brûlée

You will need the following ingredients to serve 4:

  • 600ml double cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 40g sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, sliced open and seeds scraped out
  • 1 heaped tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 50g golden caster sugar & zest of 1 lime for the topping
Ginger & Lime Crème Brûlée

And here's how it's done:

  • preferably at least 6 hours before you begin with the cooking, very finely grate the lime and add the zest to the 50g of sugar
  • mix well and leave to dry and the flavours to infuse
  • when you're ready to do the crème, preheat your oven to 150C
  • put a medium sized oven proof dish (or four portion size ramekins)  into a large baking tray and fill the tray with cold water until it reaches 2/3 of the dish
  • pour the cream into a heavy based pan, add the scraped out vanilla seeds, the vanilla pod and the grated ginger
  • bring to a boil over a medium heat
  • in a separate bowl mix the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy
  • whilst continuously stirring, add the hot cream slowly to the egg mixture
  • now pour the whole mix through a fine sieve into the prepared dish
  • put the tin with the dish into the oven and bake for 50 minutes (40 for a "perfect" one)
  • once done, take out of the oven, leave to cool and then chill
  • and here's a top tip if you struggle to get a dish out of the hot water: use a turkey baster to suck the water out of the baking tray until it's low enough for you to be able to easily remove the dish
  • when the crème is chilled, cover it with the lime zest infused sugar
  • using a kitchen blowtorch, caramelise the sugar and serve straight away

Bon appétit! 

Ginger & Lime Crème Brûlée
Ginger & Lime Crème Brûlée
Ginger & Lime Crème Brûlée
Ginger & Lime Crème Brûlée

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