Sweet, salty, creamy, buttery, smooth, crunchy.. need I go on?
Infusing cream with the taste of freshly popped, salty, buttered popcorn makes a particularly delicious creme brulee. Your spoon cracks through the layer of crunchy caramel into a silky custard below. The combination of caramel and butter popcorn makes this taste like candy corn. Only way sexier.
I had an item on the menu at the hotel that was a butterscotch tart, shortbread, a scoop of butter popcorn ice cream. Pretty much as much butter and salt and sugar as I could get onto one plate. It was kind of meh, however the Popcorn ice cream was addictive. I found myself craving it today, and alas without an ice cream maker. Creme Brulee is basically ice cream but you chuck it in the oven instead of the freezer! This definitely satisfied my craving.
You can use this method to flavour your cream with any number of things before hand, and then strain them out just like the popcorn. Its a nice way to coax the flavour out of something like tea, peach pits, flower if you’re into it..
For more details or to download a PDF version, check it out on Instructables.
Yield: 2 large or 4 small ramekins
Time: 6 hours
– 2 medium, heavy bottomed pots
– 4 cup measuring cup, with spout
– fine mesh strainer
– 2 large ramekins, or 4 small ramekins
– dish large and deep enough for ramekins
– butane torch
1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup canola or peanut oil
2 tbsp butter
OR 2 1/2 cups of freshly popped microwave popcorn
1 cup heavy cream (+ an extra 1 cup handy in case of absorbent kernels!)
1 cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp salt (may need more or less)
1/2 cup sugar for the brulee bit
Heat milk + cream in a pot, just until its hot to the touch, not boiling.
Pour 4 tsp of oil into the pot, dump in popcorn kernels and swirl to coat with oil. Cover with lid or tinfoil. Place over medium-high heat and watch carefully. When your kernels start popping, shake your pot so that popcorn rises to the top and the unpopped kernels shake back into the hot oil at the bottom. Continue popping until most of your kernels have popped.
Be VERY careful not to burn any kernels. Any hit of burnt popcorn and that’s all you will taste in your creme brulee! Its better to leave some kernels unpopped then try to pop it all and burn some.
When your popcorn is done, take it off the heat. Throw your butter into the bare bottom of the pot, so that it melts quickly in the residual heat. Put the lid back on once its melted, and shake.
Add buttery popcorn into cream & milk. Stir, and let sit at least 1 hour to steep all the flavour out. For maximum popcorn flavour, leave in the fridge over night.
When your mixture has finished steeping, pour through a fine mesh strainer into a measuring cup with a spout. Make sure to press the popcorn in the strainer to squeeze out all the cream. Some may have been absorbed by the popcorn, just add as much more fresh cream as you need to measure 2 cups.
Have your egg yolks in a large round bowl and whisk at the ready.
Pour into a medium pot with the sugar + salt, and bring to a simmer. Do not boil, you just want the cream to be hot! Taste the mixture, and and more salt if needed. I find the more salt I add, the more it brings out that movie theatre flavour.
Rinse out your measuring cup.
Preheat your oven to 300F.
Switch on your kettle, with 4 cups of water inside.
Carefully pour the hot cream into the yolks, in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Once all the cream is added, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the measuring cup.
Place ramekins into the large baking dish. Divide the mix evenly into each ramekin.
If there’s a lot of bubbles on the surface you can get rid of them by quickly passing your torch over the top to break them. That will make the top smooth as glass when they come out of the oven.
Pour in enough hot water to reach the middle of each ramekin. Cover the baking dish with tinfoil.
Bake at 300F for 30-45 minutes. If your ramekins are larger, they will take longer. Your creme brulee’s are done when you shake the ramekin and there is a slight jiggle, a shimmy, if you will. Like this:
Refridgerate for atleast 2 hours before you brulee the tops.
Sprinkle a tbsp of sugar over the top of the creme brulee, turning it to distribute the sugar in a nice even layer. With your kitchen torch lit in one hand, and your brulee on a slight angle in the other, begin to melt and burn the sugar, while turning your ramekin. You want the sugar to get quite dark, but BLACK is never good. Let cool 5-10 minutes before cracking the top and eating all the soft goodness underneath!