Romance of the crème

ASK me what my favourite dessert is and I will say crème brulee which literally translates to burnt cream, its essentially a rich baked custard, topped with a texturally contrasting layer of hardened caramelised sugar. It is normally served slightly chilled, the heat from the caramelising process tends to warm the custard making a thick, cool centre.

The process of eating this dessert is to me ethereal, the cracking of the caramelised sugar at the top, the scooping out of the cool rich custard. The mouthfeel is creamy and crunchy at the same time, making my taste buds water for each subsequent spoonful.

Custards are popular in many cuisines from English custard to Spanish flan and European crème caramel. They all consist of some type of rich creamy base contrasted by a somewhat bitter caramel derived from caramelising sugar.

Flan au coco (Coconut flan)

1 cup coconut milk

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp lime zest

1 cup full cream milk

1/3 cup granulated sugar

Beat eggs with coconut milk, vanilla, lime zest, milk and sugar until well blended, strain mixture.


1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

Combine water with sugar stir and bring to a boil, cook until mixture turns a caramel colour, pour into 6 ramekin dishes.

Pour flan mixture into caramel lined dishes, place into a large baking tray and fill the tray half way with water.

Bake until firm about 45 minutes.

Remove and refrigerate.

Invert before serving,

Serves 6

Caribbean pumpkin flan with burnt orange sauce

For the pumpkin:

2 cups grated raw pumpkin

½ cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, mace0

½ tsp ground ginger

For the custard

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 cup flour

½ cup granulated sugar

preheat oven to 325F

Combine all the ingredients for the pumpkin in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes until soft, puree and set aside.

Beat eggs with sugar, flour and vanilla, add milk, combine.

Place in a small saucepan and cook until thick, remove and strain.

Cool, combine with pumpkin and pour into a 9-inch pie plate, bake for 30 minutes until firm.

Serves 6 to 8

Burnt orange sauce

½ cup sugar

1/8 cup water

2/3 cup orange juice

1 tsp orange zest

Place sugar and water into a heavy sauce pan, cook until sugar has caramelised,

Remove from heat, add orange juice and zest, return to stove and cook until thick and bubbly.

Pour onto cooked custard before serving.

Baked custard

1/3 cup sugar

4 eggs

1½ cups milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp nutmeg

cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350F

In a bowl beat eggs with sugar and milk, add nutmeg, and vanilla.

Strain mixture and pour into greased pie plate.

Place pie plate into a shallow pan of water and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 30 minutes until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove and cool. Invert before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

Crème brulee

4 cups cooking cream

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla /or 1 vanilla bean, seeds removed

6 egg yolks

½ cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 300F

Bring the cream with the vanilla seeds if using, to a simmer. Remove from heat.

Whisk together the yolks and sugar. Add the cream and stir well.

Place 6 six-inch ramekin dishes into a shallow baking pan, add enough boiling water to the pan to reach about half way up the sides of the ramekins.

Pour the custard into the greased ramekins.

Bake for 30 mins until set but still trembling.

Remove from oven, cool and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

Before serving sift the brown sugar over each ramekin, with a kitchen torch or under a broiler, melt the sugar until caramelized to a medium dark colour. Return to the refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving.

Wendy’s Cooking Classes

Basic Cooking: October 7

Call 357-0927


"Romance of the crème"

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