Pear Rosemary Crème Brûlée Recipe

Pear Rosemary Crème Brûlée

Two weeks ago, my parents came over to my apartment. The plan was for the three of us to have lunch together, and then go out on a mini-tour of the 9th and 18th arrondissements, using a guidebook called “Paris Buissonier“, which my sister and I gave our mother for Mother’s day : it describes itineraries to walk through parts of Paris that are seldom visited, providing interesting and unusual facts and comments about what you see along the way. An excellent little book to get to know our beloved – and huge – city better, avoiding the crowds. The name “Paris Buissonier” alludes to the expression “faire l’école buissonière” (literally “to attend shrub school”), which means to cut class. When I was younger, I thought there really was a school called “Ecole Buissonière” – it sounded like one I’d want to go to!

For dessert, I decided to try my hand again at crème brûlée, to make sure last time wasn’t just a fluke. I had read recipes that flavored the cream with rosemary, and I had ripe pears on hand that needed to be used, so this time I whipped up Pear Rosemary Crèmes Brûlées. As I did not have milk on hand, I used light whipping cream in addition to regular. (I know what you’re thinking, who’s that girl with two types of whipping cream in the house, but no milk…)

Pear Rosemary Crèmes Brûlées

– two large twigs of fresh rosemary
– 20 cl whipping cream (regular)
– 20 cl whipping cream (reduced fat)
– one ripe pear
– 4 egg yolks
– 50 g sugar + 10 g to poach the pear
– a healthy amount of cassonade (brown crystallized sugar)

(Serves 4.)

Preheat the oven to 160°C (350°F). Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan, and put the rosemary in to infuse for 15 minutes, off the heat, uncovered.

Peel the pear, cut it in quarters and core it. Bring a cup of water with a little sugar to a gentle boil, and poach the pear quarters in this syrup for 5 minutes. Drain and let cool.

In a bowl, mix the sugar and the egg yolks, then pour the cream into it through a sieve, to get rid of the rosemary. Mix thoroughly using a whisk, but gently so as not to generate too much foam.

Set out four shallow half-cup ramequins. Cut each pear quarter into several thin slices and lay them at the bottom of each ramequin. Pour the cream/sugar/egg mixture over, and put the ramequins in the oven on a dripping pan filled with water to a depth of 1 cm (a fourth of an inch).

Bake for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave them in for another 15 minutes. Let cool on the counter, then store in the fridge for 4 hours at least, overnight is best.

Right before serving, sprinkle an even layer of cassonade on each crème, and caramelize using your faithful blowtorch.

This is an excellent version of crème brûlée, and my parents enjoyed it very much. The rosemary flavor is divine, and the pear slices introduce a very nice variation of texture, as well as temperature : I was surprised to discover that they feel colder than the cream, which makes for a very interesting and subtle eating sensation.

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  • http://ilforno.typepad.com/il_forno/ Alberto

    First of all welcome back!
    After reading your first post on creme brulle I went and bought myself a torch :-). Last weekend I made my first try and I was really happy with the result, much easier than I thought. This creme brulee variation you just posted sounds great, I’ll have to keep it for a friend who’s creme brulee crazy.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Alberto – I’m so glad I prompted you to get yourself a blowtorch! Isn’t it a fun tool? What recipe did you use for your first crème brûlée? Lemon-thyme, or something else?

    I’m also happy the salmon leek quiche worked out well for you too, I had missed your post about it at the time!

  • http://www.rappyamhappy.com rappy

    What a beautiful site! I’m glad I found it.

    My friend and I are looking over the recipe, and with our North American mindset, we’re at a bit of a loss as to what the measurement “cl” represents.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Rappy – Thanks for the kind words, I’m glad you like it!

    “cl” stands for centiliter, which is a hundredth of a liter. A cup is about 25 cl, so here, to get 20 cl you would have to fill a cup to 4/5, or use 3/4 C plus a TBSP. I know, I know, clear as mud, don’t get me started on cross-atlantic conversions!

    You’ll notice on the left navigation bar, I have a link to a post called “Conversions & Equivalents” that lists a few…

  • http://www.elise.com elise

    Hi Clotilde,
    I love the photos on your site. They show off the food so well. Do you mind me asking what kind of digital camera you use? I’m in the market for one. I imagine proper lighting is also very helpful.

  • http://ilforno.typepad.com/il_forno/ Alberto

    Clotilde, the blowtorch is great fun, I think I’ll be doing creme brulee more often now (and scare Daniela a bit ;-)). For the first time I used the basic creme brulee recipe from Larousse Gastronomique. I wanted to try a “basic one” (vanilla) before getting creative/adventurous.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Elise – Thanks for the compliment! Taking the photos plays a big part in the fun of maintaining this blog.

    I use a Nikon Coolpix 950, bought in 2000. This model is probably replaced by another now, but I wholeheartedly recommend the Nikon brand. These are professional quality cameras, and the macro function (important to take pics of food!) is really good.

    The lighting is indeed important, we happen to have small halogen spotlights above the bar, and that’s what I use for my photos. A friend of ours tells me this light is a bit too harsh and I should get a reflector to diffuse it, so I’ll look into that…

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Alberto – you know, making my first crème brûlée, I was thinking : why can’t I start with the basic thing? :) It’s good to know the recipe from the Larousse Gastronomique is good, I’ll give it a try!

  • Barbara

    Thank you for this beautiful website.

    I tried this recipe – with a little twist and loved it! I chose to add a bit of Pastis to the poaching liquid and then lightly roasted the poached pears under the broiler to add a little carmelization. Amazing! I tell all my friends about this dessert and I have shared your site with them.

    If you could add a metric converter to your site or post the recipes with both measurements for us metric-ignorant folks, that would be lovely.

  • Your papounet

    Barbara, have you checked in the “Features” ? There’s a “Conversions” list which you might find useful. Works fine, as long as you have a head for arithmetics, and a reliable pocket calculator !

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