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June 2010 Issue
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crème Brulee
by Ronda L. Halpin
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June is a great time to enjoy both strawberries and rhubarb, often together. And while many people are familiar with strawberry-rhubarb pie, this flavor combination makes its way into more elegant forms as well. This month, we're sharing a decadent crème brulee that's bursting with strawberries and rhubarb and sure to impress any guest.

Make sure you use fresh strawberries and rhubarb for this recipe. Frozen versions will be too watery and will have you crying over custard that hasn't set. Instead, look for the best of both that you can find. You will not be disappointed. Likewise, make sure you get a fresh vanilla bean so that the flavor that's found throughout the custard is rich and perfect. This is one recipe in which you don't want to cut corners when it comes to ingredients. It's the perfect late spring ending to a lovely dinner party.

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!


Strawberry-Rhubarb Crème Brulee

  • 1 pound strawberries - washed and quartered
  • 1 pound rhubarb - washed, trimmed & cut into 1/4 inch
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • Superfine Granulated sugar, as needed
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Arrange the rhubarb in a buttered baking dish and bake uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the strawberries and bake for 15 minutes longer. When it's done, transfer the fruit to a bowl and stir in the 6 tablespoons of sugar. Set the mixture aside to cool.

When the fruit is cool, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the 1/2 cup of sugar to a ribbon stage. In a small saucepan, add the cream and split the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and add the pod and the seeds to the pan. Over moderately high heat, scald the cream and vanilla. In a stream, whisk into the egg yolk mixture. Strain the custard into a pitcher.

Fill 8 ramekins halfway with the fruit and then cover the fruit with the custard. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan and pour enough hot water to reach halfway up the outside of each ramekin. Cover loosely with foil and bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the custard is set. When it's finished, remove the ramekins from the pan and cool on wire racks. Cool in the refrigerator until chilled, about 4 hours.

Just before serving, cover each custard with the raw sugar and, using a torch, caramelize each dessert. If you don't have a torch, you can place them under the broiler. Serve and enjoy.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 2 hours, plus chilling time

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