It’s been a long break since our last post and we are excited to get rolling again. We’ve been so busy after the move into our new house with work, travel, and family engagements that we haven’t had much time on the weekends to cook. It’s truly our most cherished way to decompress and relax, and this weekend was targeted with such anticipation the entire week leading up to it.
We’ve really wanted to work on desserts lately, and while Jane was away in San Miguel, I took the opportunity to research a few in her absence. The one that kept popping up on my radar most consistently during that time was crème brûlée. Luckily, while packing for the move, I rediscovered a torch that was gifted to me years ago, and I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever used it outside of lighting a few candles. I figured now was the time to take advantage of this coincidence.
Instead of making a basic vanilla custard, I wanted to twist it up a little bit and I just had a feeling that we could add an herb and bacon to the mix somehow. We have thyme growing in abundance in our garden right now and we use it every chance we get. I also love the taste and crackle of candied bacon on vanilla ice cream. It just seemed like it would work.
The addition of whipped cream was inspired simply by Hummingbird High’s Burnt Caramel Orange Custards post. It looked so beautiful against the dark surface of the dish that I wanted to find a way to add that to ours. The cinnamon was just a hunch and it paid off.
Stella, as always, found a way to help. If only she could stir or assemble something.
The basis of the custard and crème brûlée was sourced from My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Storieswhich could easily be the foundation for a lot of the meals we cook during the week. He guides you through each recipe in both how he cooks a meal and why.
1 1/3 cups (330 ml) heavy cream
2/3 cup (160 ml) whole or low-fat milk
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar, plus more for caramelizing
Pinch sea salt or kosher salt
4 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 tsp of fresh thyme
6 thick cut slices of bacon
1/3 cup (65g) of dark brown sugar
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp of powdered sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon
On the stovetop, gently warm the milk, cream, salt and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar melts.
Once the cream mixture starts to steam, but not boil, remove from heat and whisk in the scraped vanilla and fresh thyme. Drop in the split pod and let it rest for 30 minutes.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks together lightly. Remove the pod from the cream mixture and gradually add to the egg yolks until completely blended.
Pour the mixture into each dish until you almost reach the top of each and place them on a baking sheet with walls high enough to hold water up to the middle of each dish. Pour the hot water into the baking sheet and place into the oven for approximately 30-35 minutes. They should each barely quiver when you tap the sheet.
Remove the custards and let them rest on a cooling rack. When cool, refrigerate for approximately an hour (covered with plastic wrap if doing so overnight)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
In a medium sized mixing bowl, toss the bacon and brown sugar until all slices are evenly covered. Arrange each slice on a baking sheet lined with foil about an inch apart and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Check it at the 20 minute mark to see if it’s looks crispy. It will continue to crisp once it’s out of the oven.
When ready, place on a cooling rack and allow the brown sugar coating to harden.
Combine cream, sugar and cinnamon to a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk (or use a hand mixer) until soft peaks form. I chilled ours for 15 minutes (while the bacon rested).
Before serving, add 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar to the top of each cooled custard and tilt until the entire top is covered lightly. Using a torch, wave over the sugar and tilt slightly until it melts and browns. Be careful will shifting the dish as the liquid sugar is very hot. Once caramelized, add the whipped cream and bacon.