Cheap eats: Lavender & cointreau crème brulee

As you may know, I tackled brulee making for the first time on Valentine’s Day 2015 as part of a three course extragavanga for my beloved ninkenpoop and favourtiest person. Since then I have the brulee bug and wanted to bring out the burnt custard dish as part of a Mother’s Day meal for the family.

The lavander crème brulee was such a success first time round- I used Jamie Oliver’s recipe- that I wanted to have another go. This time I riskily modified the recipe and sluttily added some of my favourite orange liqueur, Cointreau!

Ingredients:

1-2 shots of Cointreau

150 ml double cream

150ml single cream

2 drops of lavender essence

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence/flavouring or a seed scraped vanilla pod for that beautiful speckled look in the custard.

200ml semi skimmed milk

3.5 table spoons of caster sugar

8 medium/large eggs (yolk only, save the whites)

Extra sugar to sprinkle on at the end

Few lavender sprigs (you’ll only use the flowers not the stems) if you don’t have fresh lavender then the dried stuff works very well. I use 2-3 good size pinches.

Very finely grated orange zest

lavender creme brulee

Let’s get started

Preheat the oven 140C/275F/Gas mark 1

Put all your milk, cream, vanilla seeds & pod or essence, the lavender essence and Cointreau into a pan and slowly bring to boil. When you see the formation of bubbles and some steam coming from the pan take it off the heat.

Seperate your egg yolks into a large bowl that will fit over a pan and be able to hold your milk, cream mixture. Whisk the caster suger into your yolks until the mixture is pale and fluffy.

Remove your vanilla pods from the pan if you have used them and bit by bit add the milk cream mixture to the whisked egg suger mix. I do a desert spoon at at time whisking continually.

Once they are combined add 4cm of water to the bottom of a pan and bring to boil. Put your bowl on top of the pan and simmer the water. Cook the custard mix like this for 5-8 minutes or until it thickens somewhat.

Remove any excess froth or bubbles from the mix and stir in your lavander flowers. Pour the mix into individual ramekins as close to the top as you can and place the ramekins in high sided roasting or oven tray.

Then fill the oven dish with water so it goes halfway up the side of your ramekins, don’t get any water in the ramekins. Also isn’t ramekins a weird word! Apparently it’s an old German or Dutch word that the French nabbed in the 17th centuary and may be linked to the old Flemish word for toasted bread… you’re welcome.

Carefully place the bain-marie on the middle shelf of your oven and cook for 40 minutes. When cooked they should be set but slightly wobbily.

Once cooked leave to cool to room temperature then put in the fridge. I like them to have chilled for at least a few hours.

When set sprinkle on a thin layer of sugar to your custard, add a few more lavander flowers and a pinch of the orange zest. Then melt the sugar under a hot grill or using a cooks torch. The torch method is way more fun.

Serve, eat and enjoy having your taste buds lovingly massaged by the exquisite flavours.

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