Red Currant Crème Brûlée

Red Currant Crème Brûlée

In the few days I had at home last weekend I managed to catch the very beginning of red currant season. Red currants are still fairly uncommon in the US. Astringent and seedy, I can see why they don’t fit in with the sugar-sweet raspberries and mellow blueberries we favor, but I’d like to make a case for them. Firstly, they’re beautiful – translucent globes that shine with red juice. They freeze well – and when frozen they make the most satisfying marble sound as you drop them into a glass bowl. They also add an acidic complexity to otherwise saccharine fruit desserts.

I was worried the currants might be overripe by the time I returned from my trip to Asia. I wanted to make sure I could use at least a few in a new recipe, so I picked the reddest of the bunch. With them (and some frozen ones leftover from last year), I made a Red Currant Crème Brûlée, inspired in equal parts by dinner at ForettaBarinn last week in Iceland, where I had a delicious rhubarb crème brûlée, and by Nigel Slater’s beautiful cookbook, Ripe. Trevor has promised to watch over the rest of the berries and optimize their harvest so that I can enjoy as many as possible when I get back home.

Sometimes when people ask me what my favorite food is, I tell them that it’s cream. This is only partially a joke. Accordingly, crème brûlée is one of my all-time favorite desserts, and it can be very difficult for me to not order it. Luckily (dangerously?) it’s very easy to make at home – just a simple custard of egg, cream, and sugar, gently baked in a bain marie.

This particular crème brûlée – with a layer of homemade red currant jam on the bottom – was exceptional. The sweet, silky smooth custard just barely punctuated by bursts of tart red currant jelly, the crackling burnt sugar crust – it’s more than the sum of its parts, for sure. I only wish I hadn’t inadvertently calculated the nutrition facts when pouring all two cups of lovely cream into the bowl. If I hadn’t known, I would have eaten more.

I didn’t remove the seeds from my homemade red currant jam because I don’t mind them. But if you want a really smooth jam, strain the jelly through a fine mesh strainer after simmering. You can also use store-bought red currant jelly if you don’t have any of your own fresh currants around.

Like what you just read? Subscribe to Katie at the Kitchen Door in the box on the right, on Feedly or Bloglovin‘, or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Thanks for reading!

More Red Currant Recipes…

Red Currant Crumb Bars

Red Currant Kompot

Red Currant Chutney

PrintRed Currant Crème Brûlée

A fruit-on-the-bottom version of Crème Brûlée using a thin layer of homemade red currant jam.

Inspired by Nigel Slater’s Ripe and the crème brûlée at Forettabarinn.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen red currants, stems removed
  • 1 TBS raspberry liqueur
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 4 large egg yolks
Read the whole recipe on Katie at the Kitchen Door