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Lavender Crème Brûlée

Lavender Crème Brûlée
Lavender is rarely used in cooking nowadays, but it can add a delicate perfume to recipes and makes an ideal theme for a table decoration. The crème brûlée is also delicious served with blueberries and tiny strawberries.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups light cream
  • 4 to 6 lavender flowers, depending on size
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 6 tsp. raw brown sugar
  • Fresh lavender for garnish

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 325°F.

Pour the cream into a small saucepan, add the lavender flowers and heat gently for 2 to 3 minutes, but do not boil. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 30 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and superfine sugar until smooth. Take the lavender out of the cream with a slotted spoon and then reheat the cream, bringing it almost to a boil. Gradually stir the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture and then strain into a bowl or back into the saucepan. Pour into 6 individual ovenproof ramekins or shallow dishes, cover the tops with aluminum foil and place them in a roasting pan. Pour in enough cold water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins and bake until just set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat a broiler. Sprinkle the raw brown sugar over the tops of the custards and broil until the sugar has caramelized, 3 to 5 minutes. Alternatively, use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar according to the manufacturer's instructions. Chill and serve garnished with fresh lavender within 30 minutes. Serves 6.

Adapted from Easter: Food and Entertaining (Hamlyn, 2003).