If you are fond of matcha (Japanese powdered green tea) you have probably tasted Matcha Crème Brûlée, which has become popular worldwide. Green tea’s astringency and slight bitterness is not everyone’s fare, but its fans appreciate its refreshing, cooling effect and unique herbaceous aroma. I have always enjoyed all the sweets and desserts with matcha, so even though I had always been disappointed with such inventions as chocolate or coffee crème brûlée, I wasn’t surprised that matcha crème brûlée proved an exception. Nowadays, apart from the traditional vanilla-scented one, it’s the only version of this French dessert I like and prepare.
I have called my crème brûlée “light” because it’s lighter than the old cream-only recipe. Following the vanilla-scented recipe found in “Le Grand Livre de Cuisine d’Alain Ducasse: Bistrots, Brasseries et Restaurants de Tradition I put half milk and half cream. As I have mentioned in one of my crème brûlée posts, this is not a diet recipe or a diet book and the author doesn’t call this cream “light”. Alain Ducasse is one of the most renowned French chefs and his cuisine simply follows the modern tendency (adapted to our lifestyles) to make food less fatty and less sweet, as long as it doesn’t affect the taste. Personally, I find this lighter version an improvement to the old-fashioned heavy one: I find it more elegant and sophisticated.
I have already written about Matcha Crème Brûlée two years ago. In the meantime I stopped using the cheapest matcha brand and this – wise – decision made me change the ingredients’ amounts (if the tea is of higher quality, you use less of it) and seemed a good excuse to write about it once more. I have also realised that a higher quality matcha produces a more beautiful, brighter colour. In short, if you ever try making any matcha dessert, invest in a slightly more expensive brand.
If you don’t feel like experimenting with matcha or if you are simply not a fan of this Japanese green tea, you might like the classic Light Crème Brûlée:
TIPS: Do not taste this matcha version (it doesn’t concern the traditional crème brûlée) unless it has spent 12 hours in the fridge. It improves with time. It was excellent after 12 hours, but, after 48 hours in the fridge, it became simply sensational.
Blowtorch is a very good investment since, at least from my experience, it’s impossible to obtain the contrasting textures and temperatures crème brûlée is famous for with an oven broiler (the cream warms up). You can use blowtorch on many other custardy desserts and sweet tarts. (It’s usually quite cheap, at least here).
Click here for a few ideas of how to use up the leftover egg whites.
If you don’t have brown cane sugar, you can use caster sugar to burn, but the taste is worse.
If you travel to France and order burnt cream in an unknown restaurant, I would strongly advise asking if it’s burnt just before being served. I had several times an unpleasant surprise of soggy caramel and a uniform temperature in restaurants where the cream is burnt before the opening hours and sits for several hours in the fridge.
Special equipment: a blowtorch
Preparation: about 2 hours+ min. 12 hours in the fridge (the best is to wait 48 hours)
Calories (the whole batch, using skimmed milk and including the burnt sugar): about 1600 kcal
Ingredients (serves 4):
5 egg yolks
250 ml/8,5 fl oz/about 1 cup milk
250 ml/8,5 oz/about 1 cup liquid cream (without any thickeners; I use cream with 25% fat content)
4 teaspoons matcha (choose a medium quality brand; if you use cheapest brand you should increase the amounts)
4 slightly heaped tablespoons caster sugar
about 50 g/about 1/4 cup cane sugar (but not the moist one!)
Put the milk and the cream in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, put aside for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven at 100°C or 120°C if it’s the old oven type .
Put the yolks, the sugar and the matcha in a blender or food processor and mix it.
Add the warm – not hot! – milk with cream and mix again for a couple of minutes.
Strain it to eliminate the foam and pour the mixture into six burnt cream dishes or other small shallow ramekins.
Bake it for approximately 45 minutes. (The custards are ready when only their centres are slightly trembling when moved).
Let them cool down. Put into the fridge for at least 12 hours (but it would be even better to leave them for 48 hours).
Just before serving take the creams out of the fridge and pat dry with paper towel (water drops will appear on the surface and they will make the burning process difficult).
Sprinkle with cane sugar and caramelise it with a special blowtorch.
Serve immediately while the top is still warm and crunchy and the cream below stays very cold.