My brother-in-law makes this divine chocolate variation of the classic crème brûlée. It is such a pleasing thing to eat, using your spoon to break the crisp sugar barrier to invade the creamy chocolate custard it protects.
- 4 egg yolks
- 40 g caster sugar
- 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 350 ml double or regular cream
- 4 tsp cocoa powder
- 4 tsp demerara sugar
- four small ramekins or similar-sized ovenproof dishes
- Place the egg yolks in a large bowl with the caster sugar and vanilla extract, and whisk until combined.
- Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to the boil. As it is heating, whisk in the cocoa powder until the cream is just about to boil. Remove from the heat and slowly pour into the bowl with the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
- Pour the egg and cream mixture into the saucepan (having washed it first to help prevent the custard sticking and scrambling) and place on a low heat (any hotter and it will scramble easily).
- Cook the custard, stirring constantly, for a couple of minutes or until it thickens. (Stir first with the whisk, then, as it heats up, change to a wooden spoon so you can get into the corners of the saucepan and avoid uneven cooking.)
- As the custard starts to 'shiver' on top and comes almost to the boil, remove immediately from the heat. At this point, speed is crucial as the custard could turn into sweet scrambled eggs!
- Pour the mixture into the ramekins, allow to cool and then cover and place in the fridge to chill for at least an hour (or they will be fine left overnight). Make sure when you are covering them with cling film that you do not touch the surface of the crèmes: you need a skin to form as this is what will hold the sugar on top - so no dipping fingers in to taste!
- When you're ready to serve, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of Demerara sugar over each crème, spreading it out evenly so that it's one grain thick across the whole surface. With a cook's blow-torch on full heat, caramelise the sugar, keeping the flame just over the sugar and moving in slow circular movements, taking take care not to burn the sugar. Alternatively, cook for 20-60 seconds under a very hot grill until the sugar has caramelised and is bubbling.
- Set aside for a few minutes to allow the caramel to cool and set and then serve.
This recipe and many more are available in Rachel's book, 'Rachel Allen: Entertaining at Home', published by Harper Collins.
More by Rachel Allen:
- Fennel, pink grapefruit, feta salad: Rachel Allen
- Fennel, pink grapefruit and feta salad
- Chocolate Pear Tart: Rachel Allen Coastal Cooking