An Elegant and Exotic Dessert
Not long ago, I made pineapple jam for pineapple biscotti. The great thing about this jam—which comes from a French cooking show, La Cuisine des mousquetaires, or the Musketeers' Cooking, a great French historical cooking show that features some superbly tasty 17th-century recipes—is how it lasts a long time. This means I have the chance to experiment with it more!
With my remaining pineapple jam, I decided to try incorporating it into crème brûlée.
Crème brûlée, despite its elegant and refined nature, is actually a surprisingly simple dish to make. It has a wonderfully creamy texture that contrasts with the crunchy crisp sugar on top that is torched or broiled to form a hard shell that a spoon punches through. It is also wonderfully fruity, with rich notes from the rum added into it, and with zesty, lively tones from the pineapple and lime. It is a perfect dessert for a nice occasion—easy to make, storable in advance, and wonderfully elegant.
These qualities could also describe the pineapple jam itself, as it was probably quite the status symbol in the 17th century. In an era of colonialism, exploration, and tropical discovery, the pineapple was one of the most beloved fruits, as can be seen by the prestige associated with it in constructions like Scotland's Dunmore Pineapple, a pineapple-themed building constructed in the 18th century. So continue on this legacy of the glamour of the pineapple and make a pineapple crème brûlée!
This recipe is entirely my own.
For the pineapple jam:
- 1 pineapple
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the crème brûlée:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup + 4 tablespoons sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- Make the pineapple jam: Remove the exterior of a pineapple and the hard core of the fruit. Chop the remaining fruit into small pieces. In a bowl, add the chopped fruit, juice of limes or lime juice, and brown sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, place the pineapple-sugar mixture into a saucepan. Over low heat, cook for 50 minutes; then mash until it is reasonably smooth and broken down. Then transfer it to a blender or purée to achieve a smooth texture.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine together the cream, rum, and 1/2 of the pineapple jam. Cook over medium heat until the pineapple jam has fully dissolved with the rest of the ingredients, while not boiling, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine 6 egg yolks, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Use a hand mixer to mix them until they have attained a thick, pale yellow consistency.
- Add in 1/4 of the hot cream mixture from the saucepan and after this pour all of the ingredients from the mixing bowl back into the saucepan. Ladle the custard into ramekins, which should fill up 5 or 6 of them. Place these ramekins into a casserole dish and fill up halfway around their side with hot water.
- Place into a preheated oven for 60 minutes at 325°F. After they have finished cooking, allow them to cool, then place them into a refrigerator, covered.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle the 4 tablespoons of sugar over the top of the ramekins, and use either a broiler or an oven torch to caramelize them. Be careful not to burn them; my broiler tends to be entirely too effective and so mine became more burned than I wished! Serve shortly.