Chic Eats: Orange and Honey Crèmes Brulée Scented with Lavender PDF Print E-mail
Written by VendiRei Jones   
Thursday, 24 June 2010 07:57

Chic Eats: Orange and Honey Crèmes Brulée Scented with Lavender 
Scalding and tempering and water baths - oh my. Our Chic Chef shows you an almost-foolproof flavor spin on a beloved dessert classic.     

Julia Child would be proud. Or perhaps, horrified. For this week's recipe, I'm modifying a classic dessert: crème brulée. In its simplest form, crème brulee is sweetened cream thickened with eggs and finished with a thin layer of caramelized sugar. But somewhere between cracking the eggs and literally torching the sugar, things can go HORRIBLY wrong. But with a few minor adjustments to the classic method, you can make this rich, silken dessert in your own kitchen.


Theories abound about crème brulée's culinary roots: Some sources claim the dessert originated in England rather than the usually-credited France, while others (Julia Child included) assert that the dish is Creole in origin. Regardless of its origin, crème brulée is a classic crowd-pleaser and a wonderfully blank canvas for a multitude of different flavors.


While a simple touch of vanilla is the classic (and most dear to my heart) flavoring for crème brulée, citrus and honey are a match made in dessert heaven. The bright, but delicate citrus notes of orange zest balance the soft, layered sweetness of honey. A touch of fresh lavender and vanilla add a floral hint and round out the flavor of the crème brulée.


For our simplified version of crème brulée, the tempering step is eliminated along with the risk of scrambling the eggs before the custard is baked. Rather than heating the cream to the scalding point and then adding it to the eggs, the cream is heated very gently with orange zest and lavender and allowed to steep until cooled. The mixture is whisked together, chilled, then baked in a water bath. The resulting custard is creamy, sweet and subtly flavored.


If you don't have a kitchen torch, you can use the broiler in your oven to caramelize the sugar. Garnish the dessert with candied orange zest or fresh lavender flowers and serve a glass of Sauternes or demi-sec Champagne.


Orange and Honey Crèmes Brulée Scented with Lavender

Yield: 6 servings



2 cups half and half

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 sprig fresh lavender, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon orange liqueur (optional)

1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest

Pinch salt

7 large egg yolks

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Raw sugar, for caramelizing



Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine the first six ingredients in a medium sauce pan or microwave-safe bowl. Heat on medium-low heat until warm to the touch, but not simmering.

Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain and reserve.

Whisk egg yolks, honey, sugar, and vanilla extract until slightly thickened.

Whisk in strained cream mixture.

Place six, 7- to 8-ounce ramekins in a baking dish or roasting pan. Divide custard among ramekins and place in oven.

Pour enough hot water into the dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until custards are set but still trembling in the center (approximately 35 to 45 minutes).

Remove from water bath and allow to cool to room temperature.

Refrigerate until cold (at least two hours).

Coat the surface of each custard with a thin layer of raw sugar. Using a torch, melt the sugar to form a crunchy top. Serve immediately.


Photo courtesy of VendiRei Jones

VendiRei Jones -

VendiRei Jones is the chef/owner of Torta, a licensed home bakery specializing in sweet and savory tarts. E-mail her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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