Chocolate Crème Brûlée with a Sweet Basil Vanilla Sauce
Silky chocolate cream hides under its crunchy burnt sugar crust. Chef Peter deJong adds his special touch with the basil-vanilla sauce, a subtle taste that will have everyone guessing.
- Chocolate Crème Brûlée
- Bitter Chocolate - 5 ounces
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1⁄2 cup
- Eggs - 3 large
- Sugar - 3⁄4 cup
- Milk - 1-1⁄2 cups
- Sweet Basil-Vanilla Sauce
- Milk - 1⁄2 cup
- Basil leaves - 1 cup
- Sugar - 1⁄4 cup
- Heavy (whipping) Cream - 1 cup
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Dark and White Chocolate Triangles
- White Chocolate - 4 ounces
- Semisweet Chocolate - 4 ounces
- Light Brown Sugar - 1⁄4 cup, firmly packed
- Fresh Raspberries - 1⁄2 cup
To prepare the crème brûlée: Preheat the oven to 300 F. Place the chocolate in a small metal bowl. In a heavy saucepan heat the cream over moderately high heat until it just comes to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Let the chocolate stand until softened and whisk the mixture until smooth. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar. Whisk in the chocolate mixture. In a saucepan heat the milk just to a boil. Add the milk to the egg mixture in a stream, whisking. Skim off any froth. Divide the custard among four 1⁄2-cup flameproof ramekins set in a roasting pan. Add enough hot water to the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the custards in the middle of the oven about 60 minutes until they are just set but still tremble slightly. Remove the ramekins.
To prepare the basil vanilla sauce: In the bowl of a food processor combine the milk, basil, and sugar, and puree until smooth. In a small heavy saucepan bring the pureed mixture just to a boil with the cream and vanilla bean. Remove the pan from the heat. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with a knife into the pan, reserving the pod for another use. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To prepare the chocolate triangles: Line a 10x15-inch cookie sheet with parchment paper. Temper the white chocolate: In the bottom of a double boiler heat 1 inch of water over medium heat. Place 4 ounces of white chocolate in the top of the double boiler and heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until the chocolate has melted. Transfer the melted chocolate to a stainless steel bowl and continue stirring until the mixture is cooled. Temper the dark chocolate using the same procedure as for the white chocolate. Pour the white and dark chocolate side by side on the parchment paper. Use a rubber spatula to evenly spread the chocolates (making sure to keep the chocolates separate). Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set, about 10 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and invert the chocolate onto a cutting board. Cut the chocolates into triangles.
To assemble: Set broiler rack so that custards will be 2 to 3 inches from heat and preheat broiler. Sift brown sugar evenly over custards and broil custards until sugar is melted and caramelized, about 2 minutes. (Alternately, raw sugar may be sprinkled over the custards and caramelized with a blowtorch.) Place brûlées on individual dessert plates and surround with the sauce, a white and a dark chocolate triangle, and fresh raspberries.