by Tina Salter
from Gratins: Savory and Sweet Recipes from Oven to Table
(Ten Speed Press, 2004)
This dish is a variation on the traditional crème brûlée recipe said to have originated at Trinity College in Cambridge, England. The ultimate topping of a crackled crust of caramelized sugar covers the sensually sinful, silky custard flavored with dark chocolate to complement the sour cherries inside. Use a best quality chocolate such as Callebaut, Valrhona, or Scharffen Berger.—Tina Salter
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
One 16-ounce jar sour cherries in light syrup, drained and patted dry
1. Place the bittersweet and semisweet chocolates in a medium bowl and rest a fine-mesh sieve over the top.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of the sugar until a light lemon yellow, about 3 minutes.
3. In a medium pan, bring the cream to a boil and immediately remove from the heat. Slowly add one-third of the hot cream, whisking constantly, to the egg yolks. Whisk the tempered egg yolk mixture into the remaining hot cream in the pan and cook, whisking gently, over medium-low heat, taking care not to allow the mixture to boil. The custard will thicken and should coat the back of a spoon. Immediately pour the custard through the sieve and onto the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla.
4. Divide the cherries evenly among six, 8-ounce ramekins. Pour over the chocolate custard and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.
5. Preheat the broiler. Place the chilled custards on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup sugar evenly over the tops. Set under the broiler, about 4 inches from the heat source, and broil until the sugar is caramelized and golden. (Alternatively, you can use a kitchen butane torch to caramelize the tops.) Serve immediately.
Recipe © 2004 Tina Salter and Catherine Jacobes. All rights reserved.