My mom was pretty fussy when it came to her food, not that she’d ever admit it though.
Pie crust was a big one for her. Her pie crust had to be really cooked. She referred to it as “extra crispy.” I referred to it as burnt. When it came to pie, she’d always eat the filling and leave the crust on her plate. So why complain about the crust if you have no intention of eating it anyway?
The same rules applied to her meat. It was always just a wee bit overcooked. OK, like really overcooked. I don’t know if that was intentional, or if it was just because she was always busy doing 100 other things in the kitchen and it often got forgotten. Either way, it was always well done.
And dough. Any kind of dough, or anything made with dough like cinnamon buns or even bread, was a crap shoot when it came to Mom. She used to complain all the time that things were too “dough-y”. What does that mean?
But Mom loved crème brûlée. So this crème brûlée is for you Mom. Happy Birthday. I love you.
When making a spectacular dessert like this, a little planning ahead is absolutely necessary to allow time for cooling and setting. This creamy, delectable dessert relies heavily on the flavor of the vanilla bean pod, so there really is no viable substitution. If you're going to go through all the effort to make creme brulee, use a real vanilla bean.
You can purchase vanilla beans from your local gourmet food store, grocery store, or here on Amazon. (affiliated link) 5 Premium Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans
For The Blackberry Bottom
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
For The Creme Brulee
2 cups whipping (heavy) cream - at least 35%
1 vanilla bean
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus additional sugar for finishing the sugar crust on the creme brulee
In a small saucepan combine the blackberries and sugar. Use a potato masher to gently mash the blackberries, leaving a few small ones whole. Cook over medium-high heat until just boiling.
In a small bowl mix together the water and cornstarch. Add the cornstarch slurry to the blackberry mixture and continue to boil and stir until it thickens. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Once cooled slightly, divide blackberry mixture between 4 - 6 ramekins or oven safe dishes. Reserve a small amount, about 1/4 cup, for making blackberry drizzling sauce. Set this amount aside for later. Place the ramekins in the fridge to cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Add the cream to a medium sized saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean in half, lengthwise, and scrape out the vanilla bean caviar. Add the caviar and the cut vanilla bean pod to the cream. Heat the cream on medium-high until it reaches a low boil. Remove from the heat and let the cream cool for 5 - 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pods from the cream and discard them.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light yellow in color. While constantly whisking, slowly drizzle the warm cream into the egg mixture. Whisk slowly until well combined and smooth.
Pour equal amounts of the creme brulee custard into the ramekins, over the blackberry mixture. Place the ramekins in a shallow baking dish and fill the baking dish with hot water until it reaches about halfway up the sides of ramekins. Be careful not to get water into the ramekins or your creme brulee may not set.
Place the baking dish with the ramekins into the oven and bake for 35 - 45 minutes. The creme brulee will be set around the edges, but the center should be slightly jiggly. Deeper ramekins may need an additional 5 minutes or so. Remove the baking dish from the oven and allow the creme brulee to rest in the baking dish for 10 minutes before removing the ramekins from the water bath and moving them to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Once at room temperature, transfer the creme brulee to the refrigerator to set for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar over each custard. Use a small kitchen torch to fire the granulated sugar until it melts and turns a golden brown color. Sugar will burn quickly, so keep the torch moving back and forth over the top until you reach the desired color.
For the Blackberry Drizzling Sauce:
Pour the 1/4 cup of reserved blackberry mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any unbroken berry pieces. Put the blackberry sauce in a small Ziploc bag and cut off the corner to create a bag for drizzling the tops of each creme brulee.