Great Desserts from your Grill

One of my favourite desserts is one that is grilled. It is a French dessert called creme brulee, which translate to burnt cream. I particularly like a variant of the standard recipe which is a raspberry creme brulee tart.

First make the pastry. This should be sweet shortcrust pastry which can be purchased if you haven’t the time and inclination to make it. Roll the pastry and line individual tart tins. Using baking beads to keep the pastry shape, bake at gas mark 7 for about thirty minutes. Line the bottom of the cooled tart base with slightly mashed raspberries.

Next make the custard. You need a good vanilla egg custard and this is the most important part of the dish.

6 egg yolks (from large or size 1 eggs)
1 teaspoon of cornflour
Half a pint of milk
Half a pint of cream
A vanilla pod
1-2 tablespoons of sugar (to taste)

Put the egg yolks and sugar into a large bowl and mix. Add the teaspoon of cornflour, this helps to thicken the custard and will also stop it curdling. Add about a quarter of the cold milk. Mix to a smooth paste.

In a saucepan heat the remaining milk and cream until just about to simmer. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the pod and seeds to the hot milk mixture and leave for 30 mins to infuse. Remove the pod but leave the seeds in the milk mix (the seeds add flavour and a bit of bite, you can leave the seeds out if you want a totally smooth custard). Reheat mixture to just below simmering point and add slowly to the yolk mixture, stirring all the time.

Mix well and return the custard to the saucepan to heat to just below simmering point stirring all the time. After a few minutes it will have thickened to form the perfect egg custard. Fill the raspberry lined tart cases almost to the top with the custard.

Sprinkle a layer of granulated sugar across the top of the tarts, this does not need to be a thick layer but it should be even. Place under a high grill until the sugar is liquid and bubbling. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

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