Friday, June 18, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Creme Brulee

Beast and I have been hard at work, ok, well Beast has been sleeping a lot while I've been working a lot...
In any case we're sorry for not posting more frequently...we'll try to be better.
Our latest venture in the kitchen is Strawberry Rhubarb Creme Brulee and let me say...get out to the market this week and purchase some fresh, local, delicious strawberries and rhubarb, and don't forget the'll need those as well.  The fruit can be prepared ahead of time so that the brulee doesn't take so long for prep time, but in this weather you may just figure that if you've got the oven on you may as well finish the project all at once.  Either way....
1 lb Rhubarb rinsed and chopped into 1/4 inch slices
2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 lb Strawberries, quartered
butter for greasing pan to bake fruit in
6 tbsp sugar
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup turbinado or superfine sugar for carmelizing
Extra strawberries for decorating
Preheat oven to 375° then butter 8" square glass baking dish.  Toss rhubarb with grated ginger and place in baking dish.  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes then add strawberries and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with 6 tbsp sugar and mix together.  Cool before either using immediately or refrigerating for later use.  If you make extra, this is an awesome topping for shortcake or ice cream, or just about anything else you can think of to put it on.
If continuing immediately, reduce heat to 325° and fill ramekins or custard cups 1/3 full with cooled fruit mixture.  Place custard cups onto sheet pan or large baking pan with sides (you'll be adding water in a bit)
Prepare custard:
Pour heavy cream into a medium sized saucepan and then split vanilla bean in half lengthwise.  Scrape vanilla into cream and then place bean pod into cream as well.  Heat over medium heat until careful not to boil and do not stir the pan. 
In mixer: mix together egg yolks and sugar until well blended.  Once cream is scalded, add to egg and sugar mixture in a slow stream, with mixer on medium speed.  Do not mix too long, or you will form a foam that is not desirable for the brulee. 
Strain brulee into a large measuring cup or heat proof pitcher.  Divide custard evenly among ramekins filling just below the top if there is enough batter.
Fill pan with hot or boiling water to fill just halfway up the sides of the ramekins or custard cups
Bake at 325° for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until set.  The custard will still have some jiggle when done, and will firm up in the refrigerator. 
Carefully remove ramekins or custard cups from water bath, taking care not to drip water onto custards remaining in the bath.  Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before refrigerating.
May be stored covered in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To serve:  sprinkle each custard with approximately 1 tbsp turbinado or superfine sugar and use a torch to carmelize.  If you do not have a torch, place under the broiler for a couple of to be sure it doesn't burn.  You want it to be brown and carmelized, not blackened.
Top with a fresh strawberry fan and indulge!
While this sounds hard, it is a great way to impress friends, family and company by using what's fresh and local for a tasty treat.
Tip:  Don't know what to do with the leftover egg whites?  Here's a couple of suggestions:  Make an egg white omelet for breakfast...make some meringue cookies or use them for a meringue topping for a pie.  Surf the web for ideas on uses for egg whites...regardless, don't waste the fantastic local organic eggs you purchased at market!

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