Mexican Chocolate Creme Brulee

I became obsessed with the idea of a Mexican chocolate creme brulee when I had friends over for dinner a couple of weeks ago. My best friend is pregnant and due very very soon, so I had to take advantage of being able to have her and her husband over before baby makes three! I made barbacoa beef tacos, which were amazing, a corn, beet and black bean side salad, and of course Mexican chocolate creme brulees.
I absolutely LOVE creme brulee – the contrast of textures and temperatures divine. I tend to prefer the classic vanilla, but am pretty smitten with this one as well. To make this chocolate version match back to my entire Mexican themed meal, I added a little cinnamon and ancho chili powder to give it a little kick and I finally got the ratios in the right place. Everything is subtle enough to not overwhelm, and hits you at different points. The cinnamon is a little more forward, where the chili waits to linger around after the indulgence. Even though I’ve made these 3 times now, I feel like I learn a little more each time. So a few tips follow, but regardless of what you think you’ve done to mess it up, you are going to have amazing flavors and a dish that is chocolatey, sweet, and just a little spicy and smokey.
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Tips:
  • Bake until the edges are set (about 1/2 an inch in) but the middle is still kind of loose.
  • It will firm up in the fridge and you want to pull out right before serving to keep it set and so that it remains cooler while the torched sugar provides some warmth.
  • Use a fine mesh sieve, or layer a normal sieve with cheese cloth so the custard is even finer – my last batch game out a bit grainy and next time I’ll use the cheesecloth!

Mexican Chocolate Creme Brulee makes 4-5, 1/2 cup servings:

  • 2 cups cream
  • 3 oz. chocolate (semi sweet or bitter sweet, I use 2 oz semi and 1 oz bitter)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar + extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Set water on to boil and preheat oven to 325

Heat the cream in a separate sauce pan, until bubbles form around the edges. Remove from heat and add chocolate, or pour over chocolate in bowl. Let it sit for a minute to heat chocolate, then stir to dissolve. Add cinnamon and chili powder and stir well to combine.

In a separate bowl whisk yolks and sugar until thoroughly combine, but do not over beat – you don’t want too much air in the mixture. Slowly whisk hot chocolate milk mixture into yolks/sugar. You can temper it a little but will be straining it anyhow. Add vanilla extract.

Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into another bowl or large measuring cup. Then fill ramekins. Place ramekins in baking dish and pour the water you’ve let come to a boil into the baking dish. Make sure it comes halfway up the side of the ramekins. Carefully place in oven and bake for 20-25 min (will depend on how deep your ramekins are). I would start checking at about 15 min and go back in 5 min intervals to see how it’s set.

Remove from hot water and let cool to room temp. They may still be a bit runny in the middle. Refrigerate a few hours to fully set. Remove from fridge right before serving, sprinkle sugar on top and use a cooking torch to caramelize the sugar. Serve when melted sugar is set.

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