I wanted to make a crème brulée that was absolutely packed with cherry flavor. No subtlety here. I’m talking full on, Witches of Eastwick levels of cherry flavor. To accomplish this, I added cherry extract to the custard, and placed a layer of stewed cherries at the bottom of each bowl. I finished each dessert by serving it with a maraschino cherry.
It’s not cherry season yet, so I used frozen cherries. They are picked at the peak of ripeness, so they taste great. When thawed, frozen cherries can lose their form, but since I was stewing them, the shape of the cherries didn’t matter so much. Cherries may not immediately come to mind when you think of winter desserts, but their ready availability in a variety of forms that are great for cooking make them an excellent choice.
1. Info for Cherry Creme Brulee with Stewed Cherries
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 1hr 20 mins
- Servings: 8
- Calories: 180kcal
2. Ingredients for Cherry Creme Brulee with Stewed Cherries
- 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen pitted cherries, thawed at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons Cabernet Sauvignon (or any red wine)
- ½ vanilla bean
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar (or granulated sugar)
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon cherry extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1-½ cups white baking chocolate (8 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 8 maraschino cherries (see tips)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Make sure the cherries were previously pitted.
- In a small pan, combine the cherries, red wine and ½ cup sugar. Using a paring knife, scrape and gather all the grains of the vanilla bean. Add the grains of vanilla to the cherries. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-11 minutes. Set aside.
- Break the white chocolate bar and finely chop it using a chef’s knife. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, combine the cream and milk. Bring it to a near boil. Turn off the heat and immediately add the chocolate chips. Using a spatula, keep stirring until the chocolate is fully incorporated (see tips).
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with ¼ cup of sugar until they become pale yellow. Add the cherry extract and salt. Combine the dairy liquid with the egg mixture by slowly adding a ladle of the dairy liquid at a time to prevent the yolks from curdling (it’s called tempering).
- Strain through a fine mesh and discard all the solids.
- Place 3 stewed cherries with as little liquid as possible in (3-½-inch diameter) mini-bowls (make sure they are heat-proof). Fill the 8 mini-bowls with the crème brulée custard. Place them in a warm water bath in a deep baking pan. The water should go half-way up the side of the ramekins (at least a 1-½-inch-high level of water). Loosely cover the dish with a sheet of aluminum foil and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes. The texture of the crèmes brulées should be a little jiggly but not liquid (the custard will get firmer and creamier as it chills in the refrigerator).
- Allow the crèmes brulées to cool completely first, then plastic-wrap each individual cup and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. The fat from the cream may pick up other food odors from the refrigerator if the cups are not sealed properly.
- When serving, unwrap the cups and sprinkle about 1-½ teaspoons of sugar in each cup, then caramelize with a culinary torch.
- Pat the maraschino cherries dry using paper towels. There should be no maraschino cherry syrup; otherwise it will turn the bruléed-sugar crust soggy. Top each bowl with a maraschino cherry.
- Serve the crèmes brulées on a large platter with a bowl of the remaining stewed cherries on the side (in case someone wants more stewed cherries on top).
- Bon appétit!