Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lilikoi Crème Brûlée (makes 4 ramekins)

burnt sugar using a toaster oven
burnt sugar using a blow torch
While on Maui I stayed in a beautiful hand-crafted tropical hut with limited but useful kitchen supplies.  I had a few essentials and my imagination/creativity.  I also had access to the land and all the vegetation growing in and on it.  There are several productive lilikoi (passion fruit) vines and I decided to make good use of them.  I used an old electric wok with a flat bottom and made crème brûlée quite a few times.  I used a toaster oven to burn the sugar on top.  The verdict on these?  Well, needless to say my husband and I ate them up very quickly...much faster than I was making them!

1 C heavy cream or whipping cream
3 T lilikoi syrup (please see Lilikoi Syrup post)
2 1/2 - 3 T white sugar
4 large egg yolks
3 t of raw sugar

Method:

1) In a medium size bowl, gently whisk egg yolks, white sugar and lilikoi syrup until blended, set aside.  Preheat the oven at 325 F.
2) In a medium size pan add cream and turn heat to medium.  Once the cream is just boiling, turn heat down to a low simmer, stir frequently for 3-5 minutes.
3) Temper the cooked cream into the egg-sugar-lilikoi bowl, one ladle at a time until the cream is gone.
4) Boil 4-5 cups of water, place the ramekins in a heat proof casserole pan/dish, pour the hot water up to about 2/3 up to the ramekins (take care not to burn yourself).
5) Pour the tempered mixture in the ramekins.
6) Bake the ramekins for 35-40 minutes.
7) Remove the casserole pan/dish and let the ramekins cool completely.
8) Cover each ramekin with plastic, chill the creme in a refrigerator at least 4-6 hours or overnight.
9) Once chilled, sprinkle about 1/2 to 1 t of raw sugar on the top of each ramekin, blow torch the top to melt and caramelize the sugar.
10) Serve the crème brûlée immediately once the burned sugar has cooled.

using a bamboo steamer and a wok
to steam the crème brûlée
my portable outdoor kitchen
with the antique electric wok
(old but extremely useful!)
*I discovered that I could cook the creme over the stove top when I was on Maui since did not have direct access to an oven.  Follow the method up to step 5.  My first attempt was with an old electric wok with a flat bottom (most likely this style of wok is now obsolete!  Look closely at the above photo of this wok and you will understand).  For the electric wok I put my heat proof ramekins directly on the pan and pour water on the pan covering up to 3/4 of the ramekins. For the regular wok I put my ramekins on a bamboo steamer, add water almost touching the bottom of my bamboo steamer and steam at medium heat for 30 minutes.  Once done if the top of the creme looks lumpy, then take the back of a spoon and gently smooth it out.  Complete by follow the methods from steps 7-9.  
*If you do not have a blow torch you can use either a toaster oven or a regular oven and melt the sugar using the broiler.  You need to watch your ramekins closely so they do not char.

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