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Ginger and Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee


For Custard:
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 large egg yolks

For Crème Brûlée:
12 teaspoons sugar
Sliced tropical fruit (such as mango, papaya and/or kiwi)


Make custard:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place three 4-inch-diameter fluted flan dishes in each of two 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pans or place six 3/4-cup ramekins in 1 pan.

Mix cream, sugar and ginger in heavy medium saucepan. Using small sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean. Add seeds and bean to saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer. Cover pan, reduce heat to very low and simmer gently 10 minutes to infuse flavours. Strain into large measuring cup.

Whisk yolks in medium bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk in hot cream mixture just to blend. Return custard to measuring cup; divide among dishes. Pour enough hot water into pans to come halfway up sides of dishes. Carefully transfer pans to oven.

Bake custards until almost set in centre. When pans are gently shaken, about 30 minutes for fluted flan dishes and 35 minutes for ramekins. Using metal spatula, transfer custards in dishes to work surface; cool 30 minutes. Chill at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

Make Crème Brûlée:

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons sugar evenly over each custard. Working with 1 custard at a time, hold blowtorch so that flame is 2 inches above surface. Direct flame so that sugar melts and browns, about 2 minutes.

Refrigerate until custards are firm again but topping is still brittle, at least 2 hours but no longer than 4 hours so that topping doesn’t soften. Garnish crème brûlée with fruit.

Notes: Four-inch-diameter fluted clear glass flan are about 2/3 inch deep and hold about 1/2 cup liquid.