Post 52 – Lavender & Honey Creme Brulee

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It’s been two months. Two months that I’ve been looking at this vial of purple and gold crystals wondering what to do with it. I broke the stickered seal just to smell it and look at it, but I didn’t dare use it until I knew how. The small vial was too precious.

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I haven’t exactly been looking for recipes to use it, but it has been on my counter (and on my mind) all along, patiently waiting for me to make a move. I got this lovely lavender bee pollen sugar from R, my future sister-in-law, when she and Sam’s brother came to visit back in August. She knows of my love for unusual (challenging) ingredients and so she brought me this treat from Seattle’s Molly Moon’s. I thought about rolling sugar cookies in it, bejeweling their rims with colored crystals, but I didn’t want the lavender to leave black teardrops around the cookies as it burned in the oven.

Then I found a recipe for Lavender and Honey Crème Brulee where the lavender steeps in the cream just long enough to perfume it before being strained. The temperature is kept relatively low while the ramekins cook in their warm little water bath, making it possible to leave the lavender in without fear of burning, if you desire to do so. This wonderful little sugar contains the lavender and the honey already so it makes a perfect fit for this recipe. I just added a little more honey for an extra boost.

Using my standard creme brulee recipe and this one for inspiration, I went for it. I only wish dear R could have been here to sample the results. Next time we’re both in Seattle I’ll have to make some more.

As a note, don’t be intimidated by crème brulée! It’s all about slow and steady, calm and gentle (until the blow torch comes out. Then you should still probably be gentle. You’re playing with fire afterall!) Of course if you don’t have a blow torch, just eat these cooled as a custard.

OR do as I did with my first crème brulée and call your neighbor with the woodshop-sized blow torch and torch away. Good luck!

Lavender & Honey Crème Brulée

makes 2 large servings

1 cup heavy cream (or use half whole milk, half cream)

2 egg yolks

3 T. lavender bee pollen sugar

1 tsp. honey

Boil a quart of water and set aside. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a small saucepan heat the cream and lavender bee pollen sugar on low heat, stirring to melt the sugar. Heat just until the cream starts to get bubbles around the edges. Remove from heat and let steep for 10-15 minutes.

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In medium bowl whisk  egg yolks and honey until smooth.

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When the cream has finished steeping, pour it into a liquid measuring cup (for easy pouring) and gradually add to the egg yolks, whisking constantly and stopping near the beginning to be sure it is all incorporated. The key here is not to let the warm cream “cook” or curdle the egg yolks.  Whisk in the remaining cream. Strain the mixture with a fine measure strainer and return to the liquid measuring cup (making sure there are no lavender bits remaining.)

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Arrange 2 large ramekins in an oven-proof dish and divide the cream mixture between the two, being sure not to fill them too close to the top. Carefully pour the boiling water around the ramekins until it comes up about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the whole pan with foil and gently transfer the pan to the oven (don’t splash water in the ramekins!) Close the door and set the timer to 20 minutes. Check them after 20 minutes though they may need 5 minutes more. They should jiggle slightly.

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Carefully remove from oven, remove the foil and let cool just long enough to remove the ramekins from the hot water bath. Cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Top with sugar and torch with a blow torch if you have one.

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Sam and I shared this one. I liked the non-torched side because it stayed colder, but he liked the warm custard. Share with a friend if you like or just enjoy by yourself!

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