As I write this, I am recovering from the flu. Yes, the flu. Is there anything more horrible and, frankly, more cliche than a January flu? Ugh! This month is horrible, it should die! It’s insulting that it has the audacity to be 31 days long. Like, January you’re already the worst and no one wants you at this party, so why are you still here?! Anyway, I only mention the current shit status of my health to explain why I may sound less than enthusiastic about food throughout this post. It has nothing to do with the quality of this Black Bottom Creme Brûlée. I did, in fact, eat one when I felt human and I definitely remember a certain weakness in the knees and a general sense of euphoria. It’s a good dessert! So, let’s get to it before I pass out.
Today’s Black Bottom Creme Brûlée is completely unwarranted. I don’t think anyone has ever thought, “You know, I think Creme Brûlée could stand to be richer.” But I went there anyway and added a chocolate cookie base and a chocolate ganache center. You may call me a monster now.
If I’m doing this right, the previous description should have you salivating not running for the nearest trash can. Writing about food while nauseous is actually pretty difficult. It’s like being a hound who’s lost his sense of smell…I would assume, can’t be sure; never been a hound. I can’t gage anything because tea is all I can handle at the moment. And really, the only tea I can handle is peppermint, which, let’s face it, is the lightweight of the tea world. Alright, enough complaining, let’s press on.
As I mentioned these Black Bottom Creme Brûlées are comprised of three components: cookie base, ganache, and classic creme brûlée. Each part is not difficult to make. Even the creme brûlée is not as difficult to pull off as some people and restaurants would lead you to believe. The difficulty of this recipe lies in the interaction of each component with one another. The ganache has to be cool enough to not melt when the creme brûlée is introduced, the cookie base solid enough not to absorb the creme brûlée and turn into mush. None of this is technically difficult, it’s just a matter of timing. So, don’t be deterred, you totally got this.
Now, when I thought up this crazy dessert my primary concern was the ganache. I was very worried the ganache would bleed into the creme brûlée the moment they met. I’m sure the concern flickered through your mind the moment you saw the photo above. Sure, ganache comingling with creme brûlée couldn’t possibly be bad, but I wanted a defined chocolate center. So, I chilled my ganache while I was making the creme brûlée and everything behaved the way I’d hoped. I wish I had a scientific reason for why it worked, but I don’t. It just worked, so don’t question it. The long and short of this whole paragraph is: Once the creme brûlées are bundled into their water bath and safely in the oven, you don’t have worry anymore.
Okay, I lied. There is one more hurdle: the brûlée. You’re going to need a kitchen torch for this and a steady hand. It’s going to look like you’re putting way too much sugar on the top of your Black Bottom Creme Brûlée but you’re not. You want a thick layer of sugar to keep you from torching the surface of the creme brûlée itself. Plus, you want a nice crackable crust and it takes a lot of molten sugar to form one. Also, keep the torch moving. A steady even sweep of the torch is best. You don’t want to concentrate too much heat in one area or the sugar will burn and your life will be over. Okay, probably not, but your creme brûlée won’t be as pretty as it could be.
A little fussy but totally worth the effort, this Black Bottom Creme Brûlée is a real showstopper. Whip them up today. I promise they are way better than I managed to make them sound. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go down a pack of Gravol.
Black Bottom Creme Brûlée
Cookie Crumb Base
- 3/4 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 115 g 4 oz dark chocolate chips
- 57 g 2 oz whipping cream
- 20 g 0.7 oz white corn syrup
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar divided
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Kitchen torch
For the Cookie Base
- Place cookie crumbs in a large bowl and pour the butter over top. Stir until the crumbs are uniformly saturated.
- Spoon 2 teaspoons of the mixture into 6 ramekins. Using the back of a spoon, press the cookies into the base of the ramekin creating an even, flat surface. Chill while you make the ganache.
For the Ganache
- Place chocolate chips in a medium-sized, non-reactive bowl and set aside.
- Pour the heavy cream in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk in the corn syrup and cook until steam begins to form on the surface of the cream.
- Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir the mixture until all the chocolate melts. The ganache should look smooth and glossy.
- Leave the ganache to sit at room temperature for an hour. Once the hour has passed, scoop 1 tablespoon of ganache into each of the ramekins. Place the ramekins in the fridge to chill while you make the creme brûlée.
For the Creme Brûlée
- Preheat the oven to 325° F.
- Pour heavy cream into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat the cream until steam begins to form on the surface. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cover the pan and let the cream steep for 15 minutes.
- Place the egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl. Add the sugar and the salt and whisk until uniform.
- Once the cream is finished steeping, pour two ladles-full of the cream mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk vigorously to temper the eggs.
- Add the now tempered eggs into the rest of the cream mixture and stir until uniform. Transfer the mixture to a container with a spout.
- Place the chilled ramekins in a large casserole dish and put a full kettle on to boil.
- Fill the ramekins with the creme brûlée mixture up to the top. Take care not to pour the mixture directly onto the ganche.
- Once the kettle boils, pour boiling water into the casserole dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the edges of the creme brûlée are set while the centers remain jiggly. Transfer the ramekins to the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours.
- Dust the surface of the chilled creme brûlées with 1 teaspoon of sugar each. Using a kitchen torch, brûlée the surface in an even, sweeping motion until deep amber in color. Let cool for 15 minutes.
- Serve with brandy or calvados.