The idea for this dessert came from a martini. Not too long ago, one of the guys at my local liquor store (who is always spot on with his recommendations for wine and cocktail ideas) recommended a new vanilla vodka to me and sug-gested I make a martini with it using both Baileys and Kahlua. The martini is
awesome, it’s a great after dinner drink; but the idea for the crème brulee didn’t come so easily for me.
At first, I planned to do liqueur infused truffles for my dessert for the week; but I wasn’t really happy with the idea. I kept thinking of that martini and wondering if there was some way I could turn that into a dessert, and all of a sudden it hit me: crème brulee. I love crème brulee, and this seemed like a perfect idea. Incidentally, the martini is almost a mudslide, except there’s no cream in it or chocolate syrup (which is sometimes in a mudslide). So, that’s how the Mudslide Crème Brulee idea was born. And it’s completely awesome too! Try it tonight!!
MUDSLIDE CRÈME BRULEE
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
3 Tablespoons vanilla vodka (I used Cupcake Vineyards Frosting Vodka)
2 Tablespoons Kahlua
2 Tablespoons Baileys
Pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup turbinado sugar, more as needed (I used Sugar in the Raw)
Combine the milk, vodka, Kahlua, and Baileys in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until just about to boil, about 4 minutes. Turn off heat, and let sit for 15 minutes; this will help infuse the liqueur flavors into the milk. After the 15 minutes, preheat your oven to 325 degrees, and set a medium saucepan of water on to boil (once it starts to boil, turn down the heat and keep it at a simmer). Put your saucepan of milk back onto medium high heat and bring to a simmer; once the milk mixture simmers, take it off of the heat.
In a large, heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks, pinch of salt, and sugar together. Now, you’ll need to blend your egg yolks with the hot milk mixture. You do this so that you don’t get cooked egg in your crème brulee, which no one wants. To temper it, drizzle a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the
egg yolks, while constantly whisking. After a minute or so, very, very slowly drizzle in the remaining milk mixture into the egg yolks, while constantly whisking. Once it’s all incorporated, skim off any foam or bubbles with a spatula and let it cool slightly for about 2-3 minutes, then whisk in the cream.
Pour the mixture into 4 small ramekins (about 4-5 inches across), filling almost to the top. Set the ramekins into a baking dish and then very carefully (you don’t want any water to splash into the custard) pour the simmering water into the baking dish until it comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, then bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes, until custards are firm at the edges, but not completely set in the center. Take the ramekins out of the water and put on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, you can proceed with the recipe, or refrigerate until you’re ready to finish the crème brulee; if you refrigerate them, put a small layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard, so that a skin doesn’t form on top.
When ready to finish the crème brulee, gently blot the surface of them to remove any condensation, sift a fine, even layer of turbinado sugar over the top. Torch the sugar with a baking torch until lightly browned, then sift another layer over that and torch again; repeat one more time. If you don’t have a crème brulee torch, then preheat your broiler and put the custards under the broiler to brown the sugar, add another layer, then brown again under the broiler, and repeat one more time.
NOTE: Normally, in crème brulee, I use a vanilla bean, but I was out of them, and had a ton of vanilla extract. I think the normal substitution is one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract for one vanilla bean. I just used a little extra extract in my crème brulee. If you use a vanilla bean, then cut it in half, scrape out the seeds, and put in the milk mixture with the liqueurs. You can strain out the vanilla bean if you want after the milk mixture has set for 15 minutes by pouring through a sieve, or you can leave it in.
"Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, & who we want to be." -- Molly Wizenberg