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Last time I visited my parents in Florida, my mom had picked up these delicious Black Mission Figs from the farmer’s market. I kept intermittently pulling the figs out of the fridge, cutting them in half, sprinkling each half (generously…) with brown sugar, and torching them for a brûlée snack of sorts. The creamy, sweet, crunchy, caramelized taste of my torched figs is more elegantly recreated here in crème brûlée form.
This recipe yields (6) 5-inch oval ramekins.
Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.
In a saucepan, heat figs, water, and 1 Tablespoon of sugar over medium-low heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until figs break down and liquid dries up.
Transfer cooked figs to a blender. Purée, using a little of the heavy cream if necessary. Transfer mixture to a medium saucepan, adding the rest of the heavy cream, vanilla bean (split open, and seeds scraped, as well as the bean shell), and salt. Bring mixture up to a boil on medium heat. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl or stand mixer, whisk egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, and honey until well blended and light yellow in color. It should look very creamy at this point.
Strain cream mixture through a fine sieve and add the strained mixture, in small amounts, to the yolks, whisking after each addition. You want to slowly bring up the temperature of the yolks (not scramble them). Transfer custard to a measuring cup or something that pours easily.
Place paper towels in two different baking dishes and divide ramekins between the two. Carefully pour the custard ¾ of the way up into the ramekins. Then, add water to the baking dishes so that it comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. I bake these in a water bath, and the paper towels help the ramekins from sliding around and also help reduce the risk of splash as you pour the water into the dishes.
Bake at 325˚ F for 35 minutes. It should still jiggle slightly when it’s done. Remove from water bath and let cool at room temperature for 10 minutes. Cover in plastic wrap (don’t let the plastic touch the surface), and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours in order to set the custard.
Coat the top of the custard in each ramekin with a layer of sugar. Turn over to shake a bit and remove excess sugar. Carefully, using a torch, brûlée the sugar, working in circles evenly over the ramekins.
Note: if you use larger or deeper ramekins, the cooking time will inevitably be longer. The key things are the water bath and also to make sure that it still jiggles when it comes out. You want smooth, creamy custard, not overcooked and curd-like.
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Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!