July 19, 2013

Lavender and Raspberry Crème Brûlée

Straight off the bat I'm going to tell you that this is one of the easiest desserts you will ever make. Ever. Trust me. I would absolutely never, ever tell you a lie! There's a bit of infusing, whisking and baking in a bain-marie which is hot water in a baking dish. 

You . Have. Got. This.

I think there is a common misconception about these creamy beauties, that they are scary and complicated to make. Does the name scare you? Does it make it sound too sophisticated and serious? Call it burnt custard if it makes it feel more approachable for you. It's your life, you can do whatever you like. 

D'ya like our lavender field?!
Crème brûlée, it's got three ingredients, three little harmless (delicious) ingredients: double cream, sugar and egg yolks. Plus two for flavour: fresh lavender and raspberries. Once you see the recipe and method in the pictures below, you will forever laugh in the face of crème brûlée and absolutely own it. Look at your bad self getting on with the crème brûlée. 

I flavoured my crème brûlée with fresh lavender because we have lots of it growing in the garden. If you don't have fresh, buy dried and if I know you personally, I might give you some. It gives the crème brûlée a stylish floral note-and the raspberries? They compliment the floral note with a little sharpness.   

This is not a flimsy dessert. It's unctuous and bad. The good bad, though. The bad you can't get enough of. It's incredibly creamy and smooth and that caramelised sugar topping?! Oh god stop! Hitting it with the back of your spoon to shatter it is one of the joys of eating crème brûlée. If you've never had it before. You are in for a treat. 

I lifted back the sugar topping, squished up the raspberries and gave the crème brûlée a stir. Looks like a beautiful mess!
Add double cream, caster sugar, eggs, lavender and raspberries to your shopping list this weekend. I'm just thinking about you here. Sitting in the back garden after a lovely al fresco dinner with the family. Plans have just been made for you!


Holly, x

What we've got: 500ml double cream, 100g caster sugar, 6 egg yolks, 1 punnet of raspberries and 2 1/2 tablespoons of fresh lavender. If you can't get fresh lavender, use dried and only 1 1/2 tablespoons of it. The dried leaves are way more intense in flavour. 

Not feeling lavender and raspberry? Cool. Go with a classic crème brûlée. Leave out the lavender and raspberries. Replace them with one vanilla pod.  Split it length ways and use the back of a small knife to remove the vanilla seeds. 

Let's get all up in this crème brûlée. 

First thing: pour the double cream into a pot. Place the lavender leaves into the palm of your hand, scrunch them with your fingers and tip them into the cream. You'll get so much more flavour from the lavender if you do this. You're releasing its natural oils. Do it with mint too, if you're making a mojito!

Bring the cream and lavender just to the boil. Remove from the heat and cover with clingfilm.  Set aside for 15 minutes to infuse. 

As the cream is infusing, sort out your egg and ramekin situation. Place 5 250ml ramekins into the base of a high sided baking dish and pop 4-5 raspberries into the base of each.
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar, for 1 minute, until pale and fluffy. 

After 15 minutes, strain the cream into a measuring jug to remove the lavender leaves.

Make sure to squeeze all the cream from the lavender leaves. You want ALL of that perfumed lavender flava'. 

 Slowly pour the cream into the egg yolks and whisk quickly until just combined. 

Take a tablespoon, holding it almost flat against the surface of the crème brûlée mixture and skim all the bubbles from the top. 

Evenly divide the crème brûlée mixture between the 5 ramekins. Make them as even as possible so that they all cook at the same time.

It's no big deal if some of the raspberries float...it kind of looks nice.

If you want them below the surface, so you have a flat top, push them below the surface with your finger. They'll stay submerged!

If a few more air bubbles begin to appear, pop them with a toothpick or take a chef's blow torch and lick the top of the crème brûlée with a low flame to deflate them.

Pour hot water from a kettle, into the base of the baking dish to come come halfway up the ramekins and place in a preheated oven at 150C, on the middle shelf for 45-50 minutes. 

Recipe, Serves 5

500ml Double Cream
100g Caster Sugar
6 Egg Yolks
1 Punnet Raspberries, roughly 125g
 2 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Lavender Leaves or 1 1/2 Tablespoons Dried Lavender Leaves 

Preheat the oven to 150C.
Pour the cream into a pot.
Place the lavender into the palm of your hands and scrunch it with your fingers to release the natural oils before adding it to the double cream.
Place the cream on a low to medium heat and bring just to the boil.
Remove from the heat and cover the top with cling film.
Set aside and allow to infuse for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, place 5 250ml ramekins into a baking dish with high sides.
Add 4-5 raspberries into the base of each ramekin and set aside. 
Whisk together, for 1 minute, the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.
Remove the clingfilm from the pot and strain the cream to remove the lavender leaves.
Slowly pour the lavender infused cream into the eggs and whisk quickly so they don't scramble. 
At this stage the crème brûlée mixture could be set aside, allowed to cool and refrigerated overnight to be used the next day if you are stuck for time. 
Take a tablespoon and skim the top of the crème brûlée mixture to remove the little air bubbles. 
Evenly divide the mixture between the ramekins.  
Pour hot water into the base of the baking dish to come half way up the ramekins.
Place in the oven on the middle shelf and bake for 45-50 minutes. 
The crème brûlée should be set all over but wobble like jelly when the baking dish is swayed. 
Remove from the oven and carefully transfer each ramekin to a baking tray. 
Set aside and allow to chill before loosely covering with clingfilm and placing in the fridge to go completely cold. 
The crème brûlée will keep like this in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

To serve

Sprinkle the top of each crème brûlée with 1/2-1 teaspoon of caster sugar. Shake the sugar around so that it is relatively even.
Using a chef's blow torch, caramelise the sugar.
Set aside for 1 minute until the sugar hardens. 
You could also caramelise the sugar under a really hot grill. 


  1. Hi Holly

    Creme Brulee is my favourite dessert. The lavender and raspberries were a genuis addition. Sublime!