I went through an obsession with all things lavender. I hunted down every recipe I could find that used the delicate, purple flowers. This is an impressive dessert, yet one that people is incredibly intimidated by. They think of Creme Brulee as something you order in a fancy restaurant, not something to be made at home. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is ridiculously easy to make, and perfuming the custard with dried lavender flowers really makes it something special.
Lavender Crème Brulee
4 c. heavy cream
1 tbsp. dried lavender flowers
8 egg yolks
¾ c. granulated sugar, divided
Preheat oven to 300. Butter (6-ounce) custard cups and set them into a glass baking dish. If cooking custards in a metal pan, cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of newspaper to ensure an even temperature on the bottom. Place custard cups in a shallow ovenproof roasting or baking pan.
In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, add cream and the lavender flowers; heat just to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow lavender flowers to infuse with the cream for 5 minutes. Strain cream mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove lavender flowers.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and ½ cup sugar until light and creamy. Slowly add the strained cream to the egg mixture, blending well. Divide custard mixture among the custard cups.
Bring the water for the water bath to a light simmer on top of the stove; carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come half-way up the sides of the custard cups. NOTE: The most common mistake people make in baking custard is not putting enough water in the hot-water bath. The water should come up to the level of the custard inside the cups. You must protect your custard from the heat.
Baked 60 minutes or until 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 at a half hour and check back regularly. When the center of the custard is just set, it will jiggle a little when shaken that’s when you can remove it from the oven.
Remove from oven and leave in the water bath until cooled. Remove cups from water bath and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
When ready to serve, sprinkle approximately 2 teaspoons of remaining sugar over each crème brulee. For best results, use a small hand-held torch. 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 flame has been removed.
If you don't have a torch, place crème brulees 6 inches below the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes or until sugar bubbles and turns golden brown. Refrigerate crème brulees at least 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 6 to 8 servings (depending on size of custard cups).