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Black Mission Fig Crème Brûlée

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Level: Easy

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Description

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.

Ingredients

  • 6 whole Fresh Mission Figs, Stemmed And Cut Into A Medium Dice
  • ¼ cups Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 whole Vanilla Bean, Split And Scraped
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 5 whole Egg Yolks
  • ¼ cups Sugar Plus Additional For Sprinkling On The Top Of The Custards
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey

Preparation

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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