Ginger and star anise creme brulee
- 2 cups (500ml) pouring cream
- 4 whole star anise
- 4cm piece ginger, peeled and sliced
- ½ vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped (or ½ tsp vanilla bean paste)
- 6 egg yolks
- 2½ tbsp castor sugar
- 2 tbsp castor sugar, extra
Preheat the oven to 120C (100C fan-forced) and place four ½-cup (125 millilitre) ramekins in a baking dish. Combine the cream, star anise, ginger and vanilla seeds and pod in a medium saucepan. Bring almost to the boil, then remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain, discarding the solids, and return to a clean saucepan.
Place the egg yolks and castor sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until pale.
Reheat the cream mixture, then gradually add to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. This will create some foam on the surface. Strain the mixture and allow it to rest for five minutes until the foam has subsided, then strain it into a jug.
Gently pour the mixture into the ramekins. Half-fill the baking dish with boiling water then place in the oven for 40 minutes or until the custard is just set but still wobbly. Remove the ramekins from the dish and set aside to cool. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Just before serving, sprinkle the brulees with the extra castor sugar. Flick gently with a few drops of water to encourage melting, then caramelise the top with a kitchen blowtorch or brulee iron. Or pack them in ice and place under a hot grill. Serve immediately.
Prep time 15 minutes, plus infusing and cooling time; cooking time 50 minutes.
To drink The vanilla finds a lovely synergy with the rancio character of less-dry sherries, such as oloroso. Otherwise, a botrytis semillon.
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