Gently waving wands of lavender make an exquisite, perfumed statement in the garden, and by planting the right lavender varieties, you can harvest for an exquisite, tasteful statement in the kitchen, too. In The Lavender Lover’s Handbook (Timber Press, 2012), author Sarah Berringer Bader offers information on the 100 most beautiful and fragrant lavender varieties with proven tips for growing, harvesting, drying, cooking and crafting with this wonderful herb. This excerpt for a Lavender Crème Brûlée Recipe was taken from the chapter “Lavender Recipes.”
Lavender Crème Brûlée Recipe
Serves 4 or 5 (depending on the size of your custard cups)
This crème brûlée is infused with the flavor of lavender. The custard is baked in a water bath. The most common mistake people make in baking a custard is not putting enough water in the baking dish. The water should come up to where the level of the custard is inside the cups in order to protect your custard from the heat. Thanks to Purple Dog Farms, Finger Lakes, New York, for this recipe.
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
extra granulated sugar for the topping
1. Preheat the oven to 300° F. Butter (6-ounce) custard cups and set them in a glass baking dish with a layer of newspaper or kitchen cloth in the bottom to keep the cups from sliding (I use a silicone baking sheet).
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream and the lavender flowers just to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, and allow the lavender flowers to infuse the cream for 5 minutes. Strain the cream mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the lavender flowers.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks and the sugar together, then slowly pour a steady stream of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks and sugar, stirring continuously.
4. Bring water for the water bath to a light simmer on top of the stove; carefully pour enough hot water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the custard cups.
5. Bake 45 minutes or until the custard is set around the edges but still loose in the center. The cooking time will depend largely on the size of the custard cups you are using, but begin checking after 30 minutes and check back regularly. When the center of the custard is just set and jiggles a little when shaken, remove it from the oven.
6. Leave the cups in the water bath until cooled. Then remove the cups and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Use within 3 days.
7. When ready to serve, sprinkle approximately 2 teaspoons of sugar over each crème brûlée. I swirl the dish gently to evenly spread the sugar. For best results, use a small hand-held torch to melt the sugar. Hold the torch 4 to 5 inches from the sugar, maintaining a slow and even motion. Stop torching just before the desired degree of doneness is reached, as the sugar will continue to cook for a few seconds after the flame has been removed. If you don’t have a torch, place the crème brûlée 6 inches below the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes or until the sugar bubbles and turns golden brown.
For more delicious lavender recipes from The Lavender Lover's Handbook check out the article Lemon Verbena and Lavender Ice Cream Recipe.
Taken from The Lavender Lover’s Handbook © Copyright 2012 by Sarah Berringer Bader, Photographs by Janet Loughrey. Published by Timber Press, Portland, OR. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.