Green Tea Creme Brulee
I am particularly fond of the earthy flavor of matcha, Japanese green tea powder. Maybe I go on a little green tea kick here and there – inserting it into condiments and especially desserts. But I won’t apologize for that. It is delicious and when you’re not in the mood for drinking it, why not eat it?
Going beyond green tea ice cream, here’s an easy recipe for an elegant green tea creme brulee. To ensure success with this recipe, you should:
1. Use the best quality green tea powder you have access to. Yes, it is expensive. Thankfully, a little goes a long way. I used The Republic of Tea Matcha because my husband drank (or hid from me!) the imported stuff he purchases. It was reasonably priced and had just the right flavor I was hoping for.
2. Get a blow torch. No need to buy an expensive cook’s torch from the kitchen stores. You can get a torch from the hardware store for about $12. This is my preference because the flame is better. Also, you can use it for searing seafood.
3. Use 2 kinds of sugar. Top your finished creme brulee with turbinado sugar. The thick crystals melt and caramelize quickly and leave you with that desired crust to poke through. Using standard granulated sugar just browns the top. And speaking of granulated sugar, be sure to use it when preparing the custard.
Green Tea Creme Brulee (Makes 6)
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
8 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
6 egg yolks
2-3 teaspoons matcha green tea powder (or more to taste)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
about 1/4 cup of turbinado sugar
Mint sprigs for garnish, optional
1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Gather six 1/2 cup capacity ramekins or brulee dishes and set aside.
2. Stir together heavy cream and 4 tablespoons of the granulated sugar in a heavy bottomed pot. Heat over medium heat, to a near boil.
3. In a heat proof bowl, stir together the remaining 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar, egg yolks, matcha and vanilla extract. Add a generous splash of the hot cream mixture and stir well to prevent curdling. Add the rest of the hot cream mix and whisk until mixture is smooth.
4. Use a ladle to divide the mixture between 6 ramekins. (There may be some foam/bubbles in the mixture at this point. If you like, strain it. I leave it because I find that it generally doesn’t affect the end result.) Place the ramekins on a sheet tray or in a deep roasting pan. (I like the deep roasting pan because of the convenient handles.)Put the tray or pan into the preheated oven. Add water to the pan, being careful not to get any into the ramekins. Ideally, you want the water deep enough to reach about 1/3 up the sides of the ramekins.
5. Bake for 25 minutes. At this stage, check the custards for doneness. They should be somewhat firm around the edges, yet a little jiggly in the center. This is a personal preference, so continue baking (or not), depending on how firm you like your centers. Keep in mind that they will set more once cooled.
6. Remove tray or pan from oven. Take the ramekins out of the water bath and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before refrigerating. Refrigerate the creme brulees for at least 1 hour before serving.
7. To serve, Place a hefty tablespoon of turbinado sugar on top of each creme brulee. Shake it around to cover evenly. It should be covered just to the point where the sugar sticks, but doesn’t have much loose sugar floating around.
8. Heat the sugar with a blow torch, being sure to keep the flame moving over the surface. When you’ve reached your desired “burnt” sugar likeness, stick a mint sprig on top (if desired) and serve. Consider serving the dish with a napkin in case the ramekin becomes hot from the torch.