Pastry chef and author Kirsten Tibballs says…A modern twist on a French classic, this is a simple dessert that can be made in advance with the final touches added just before serving. It’s great on its own or with a piece of crunchy biscotti for dipping.
55 g (2 oz) good-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
290 ml (10 fl oz) cream (35% fat)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
15 g (1/2 oz) chai tea leaves
135 g (43/4 oz/about 7) egg yolks
90 g (31/4 oz) caster (superfine) sugar (a)
100 g (31/2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar (b), for caramelizing
Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F). Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Put the cream and vanilla bean seeds in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat, add the tea and leave to steep for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture, then re-measure the cream and top it back up to its original volume of 290 ml (10 fl oz).
In another heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar (a) together by hand until the mixture starts to lighten. Pour the cream mixture over the egg mixture and whisk together. Return everything to the pan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the temperature reaches 80°C (176°F). (If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, dip a wooden spoon in the mixture, lift it out and draw a line through the mixture on the spoon with your finger. If the anglaise runs straight over the line, it’s not ready. If the line holds without any drips, it’s ready. Do this process quickly, before the anglaise runs off the spoon.) Immediately strain the mixture over the chopped white chocolate, whisking to combine.
Divide the mixture evenly into six 8 x 4 cm (31/4 x 11/2 inch) ramekins and place them in a large baking dish or tin with sides. Place the dish with the ramekins in the oven and fill it with water so it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cook for 22–25 minutes. When it’s ready, the crème brûlée will be slightly wobbly but set. Remove the ramekins from the water bath and place them in the refrigerator for 2 hours to set completely. These can be made up to 48 hours prior to serving and stored in the refrigerator. To finish, sprinkle the surface with the sugar (b) before caramelising it with a blowtorch. If you don’t have a blowtorch, brown them under a grill (broiler) or serve the brûlées as they are.
Photography by Greg Elms
Recipe and images from Chocolate by Kirsten Tibballs, $49.99, published by Murdoch Books.