Blood Oranges. They are God’s gift to shitty winters. And they stick around just a tiny bit longer than winter, which is ok with me, cause they are killer in creme brulee.
Blood Oranges are super fragrant and much less acidic in flavor than a regular orange, giving a vanilla-based creme brulee almost a floral fragrance and a light citrus flavor…really unique, people will talk when they try it – in the best possible way.
I have few blood oranges lingering on my counter, and in the grocery store yesterday they were still available, so I am telling you, go grab a bunch! Make this blood orange creme brulee with a few of them, and then have a few extra and squeeze the juice into a glass of prosecco or champagne – you WILL NOT BE SORRY – which will likely turn into several glasses, and that is just f’ing fine!
I threw on some candied blood orange pieces for dramatic effect and because I love eating them, but I will tell you, my husband and the one kid who eats creme brulee immediately removed them all from theirs – emphatically telling me that creme brulee doesn’t need anything on top. So add those at your own risk – purists will not want them.
Blood orange creme brulee
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or one vanilla bean seeded
- 1 tablespoon blood orange zest
- 1 teaspoon blood orange juice
- turbinado regular white or raw sugar for the brulee top
Heat your oven to 300 degrees. Throw a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.
In a medium mixing bowl combine egg yolks, sugar and juice. Whisk together, but don't whisk a bunch of air into it, just combine it nicely.
In a small saucepan pour in heavy cream. Add the zest and the vanilla bean (or scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream and then throw the whole bean in there). Heat the cream/zest/vanilla mixture until it barely bubbles around the edges (fancy word is scalded, so if you know what that is then scald the cream).
Now to temper the eggs, follow closely - start whisking your yolk mixture AND THEN slowly pour roughly (don't measure, just pay attention) around a cup of the scalded cream yolk mixture WITHOUT STOPPING WHISKING. Mix thoroughly until combined. Then, slowly pour the rest of the cream into the eggs STILL WHISKING, until it is all fully combined.
Now pour custard through a strainer to make sure it is smooth as hell and into a large pitcher or the biggest measuring glass you have.
So I made this version, and a lot of other versions in a large ceramic baking/tart dish. I find this is a great way to serve creme brulee to a crowd - especially if you don't have a large enough number of exact same size ramekins. But, traditionally creme brulee is served individually in a ramekin...so do either - they will both come out the same.
Anyhow arrange your large baking dish or a ramekins in a larger pan that can hold water comfortably about halfway up the sides of the baking dish or ramekins. Pour the custard into the big one or evenly between the ramekins.
Place the big dish on the top rack of your preheated oven. THEN pour that water we started boiling in the first set of instructions into the large dish surrounding the baking dish/ramekins (this is called a water bath and it is French; andddd it enable even cooking anddddddddddddd gently cooking so your custard doesn't curdle).
Bake for roughly 30 minutes. The larger one may take a little longer, but start checking it at 30 minutes. They should be jiggly but not cracked on the top. Pull the creme brulee out of the water bath and let cool to room temperature. Then stick it in the fridge for several hours.
When you are ready to serve - and not before - sprinkle the top with your turbinado, regular or raw sugar and torch them with a kitchen torch or turn your broiler on and broil until the sugar begins to caramelize.
I have a torch and I love it for this - and other things - it gives you great control over the caramelizing. If you don't have one, just watch carefully in the broiler, because it can burn in an instant.