Beets add an earthy and colorful element to this classic dessert. For best results, use small, low-sided 4-ounce capacity porcelain or glass ramekins, about 1 inch high. Chilling the crème brûlée before broiling the sugar on top makes a wonderful contrast of both warm and cold temperatures as well as smooth and crunchy textures. The broiler works fine, but if you serve crème brûlée often, you may want to purchase a small kitchen torch made just for browning the tops of dishes before serving. These torches are available in many specialty food stores. To obtain beet juice, either use an electric juicer, or
alternatively, finely grate fresh, trimmed and peeled beets (about 21/2 pounds before trimming). Working in two batches, line a bowl with a double layer of rinsed cheesecloth, and place the grated beets in the center of the cloth. Pull up the sides of the cheesecloth to form a ball, and use your hands to squeeze out the juice into a container. You can make this dessert 1 day in advance.
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup fresh beet juice from 8 to 10 medium-sized beets
- 4 Tbs. “brownulated” or sifted air-dried light brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- Combine egg yolks and half the sugar in a mixing bowl, and beat with a fork until lemon-colored. Set aside.
- Pour cream and beet juice into a heavy saucepan, and add remaining sugar. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves and small bubbles begin to form around sides of pot. Slowly pour hot cream over egg yolks, whisking constantly until blended.
- Strain into four 4-ounce ovenproof ramekins set inside a baking pan. Pour in enough hot water to reach about halfway up sides of ramekins, and carefully transfer ramekins and pan to oven.
- Bake for about 1 hour, or until set on sides but slightly wobbly in centers. Do not overbake. Remove from water bath, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Just before serving, preheat broiler to high, and adjust rack until it is as close to source of heat as possible. Sprinkle tops of each crème brûlée evenly with 1 tablespoonful of brown sugar. Broil, watching constantly, until sugar dissolves and forms a crisp caramelized surface, for at least 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to allow sugar to burn.
- Remove from oven, and serve at once.
The best way to enjoy this earthy, savory dessert is with a glass of a classic Port. Try a true Portuguese Ferreira Dona Antonia Port or the Ficklin Tinta Port from California.
- Serving Size: SERVES 4
- Calories: 410
- Carbohydrate Content: 38 g
- Cholesterol Content: 295 mg
- Fat Content: 27 g
- Protein Content: 4 g
- Saturated Fat Content: 15 g
- Sodium Content: 95 mg
- Sugar Content: 35 g