What’s Cookin’ – Orange Creme Brulee (Gluten Free)

So, on the way home from taking our last kid to college, we stopped at one of our favorite little restaurants, Les Bourgeois Vineyards Blufftop Bistro, in Rocheport, Missouri.  As the name suggests, the restaurant sits on bluffs overlooking the Missouri River.  It is a beautiful spot which we were able to enjoy on a beautiful Summer day.  Really, it was the perfect spot to contemplate our newly emptied nest.

The menu changes a few times as a year as the chef adjusts to seasonal products and introduces new items.  We shared a few different items off the menu, but it was the dessert that made my day – Orange Creme Brulee served with a garnish of cocoa dusted almonds, a sliver of orange, and a sprig of fresh mint.  Orange and chocolate and mint all together in one of my favorite desserts, Creme Brulee.  I decided to make this when I got home.

Orange Creme Brulee ingredients – in addition to the normal ingredients you will need a fresh orange for the orange peel and orange segments, some orange extract, and some fresh mint.

Note on the sugar – I did use superfine or Baker’s sugar, but you can easily use regular granulated sugar.  I like using superfine sugar, but if you don’t want to spend the extra money to buy it, you can also simply pulse regular granulated sugar in a blender to make some.  This is a tip from my friend, Laura, who has a brother who is a chef.  He does this all the time.

Note on the eggs – you will only need egg yolks in this recipe.  If I am not going to use the egg whites right away, I freeze them.  Then you can make an Angel Cake or white cake with the leftovers sometime in the future.

Preheat your oven to 325° F.  Put the cream, vanilla or vanilla bean paste, orange peel, and orange extract into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat.

Do not allow to come to a boil as it will spill over the pan.  That is the voice of experience speaking.  Yes, I am easily distracted.

While the cream mixture is heating up, beat the egg yolks and sugar with a whisk until it is pale yellow and thick.

I did this right next to the stove where my cream was coming to a simmer, and I still didn’t notice it coming to a boil.

You will need to temper the eggs with a very little of the warm cream mixture.  You do not want to scramble the eggs.

After you have tempered the eggs, you will slowly add the remainder of the cream mixture while whisking the egg mixture.

Pour the custard into your ramekins or custard cups.  You will need to place these into your roasting pan (or, in my case, two sheet cake pans) so that you can bake them in a water bath.  Bake in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes.  The custard will be set but remain a little loose in the center.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.  Then refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours prior to preparing to serve.

To make a water bath, the ramekins will need to sit in a container that you can fill with warm water about an inch up the sides.  What I do is put the pans into the oven and then pour warm water from a pitcher into the pans.  That way, I am not walking across the kitchen balancing a container with ramekins and water.  I’m easily distracted and a klutz.

Here is what the cold custard looks like once it is ready to be prepared for the last step of carmelizing the sugar and garnishing.

Preheat your broiler to high and raise the rack so that the ramekins will be about 3 to 4 inches under the element.  Evenly sprinkle about 1 TB of sugar over the custard.

Honestly, I don’t measure the sugar.  I just take a teaspoon and gently sprinkle until the entire surface is covered with a thin layer of sugar.

Note on the sugar – on regular vanilla Creme Brulee, I often use brown sugar, but I didn’t want the molasses flavor in the brown sugar to mask the delicate orange flavoring so I used white sugar.

The custard with the sugar carmelized on top.  You can smell the goodness at this point.  You know it’s done when you can lightly tap a teaspoon on top, and it’s hard.

Note on the carmelizing step – most restaurants and people use a kitchen torch to carmelize the sugar, but I do not own one and I am not brave enough to use my hubby’s propane torch.  Using a torch is ideal because the goal is to carmelize the sugar while the custard remains cold.  If you have a torch, go for it. 

The Orange Creme Brulee garnished with cocoa dusted almonds, an orange segment, and a sprig of fresh mint.

Honestly, the garnish made this dessert extra special.  Yes, we ate the almonds, orange segment, and mint along with every bite of the custard and carmelized sugar.  Yummy.

Note on the almonds - cocoa dusted almonds are available in stores, but not in any stores that I visited.  So, I did some research and made my own.  I will post that recipe, too. 

I am under no delusions that many people will actually make this dish.  It is time consuming and involves items that many people don’t have in their kitchens.  I often have fabulous food when I’m away from home, and you can almost never get the recipes.  So, I will research, experiment, and often will end up with a dish that is even better than what I had in the first place.  Sometimes, I have epic fails, too.  So, I encourage you to experiment and try new foods and recipes.  You never know when you will come up with a winner.

I have to say that my version of Orange Creme Brulee was just as good as what we had in that little bistro restaurant, and I can’t wait to visit again to see what else they come up with that I may want to try!

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One Response to What’s Cookin’ – Orange Creme Brulee (Gluten Free)

  1. Pingback: What’s Cookin’ – Cocoa Dusted Almonds (Gluten Free) | Mama's Empty Nest

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