LILKOI (PASSION FRUIT) CREME BRULEE

Four simple ingredients – cream, lilikoi juice, eggs, and sugar – make for an exquisitely decadent and elegant dessert.

What exactly is crème brulee? It is a dessert consisting of a rich custard base topped with a layer of hardened caramelized sugar. It is usually served slightly chilled; the heat from the caramelizing process tends to warm the top of the custard while leaving the center cool. The custard base is traditionally flavored with vanilla in French cuisine but can have other flavorings, like this version.

I decided to try a lilikoi version; for one, we have a lot of lilikoi juice on hand (passion fruit), and two, why not? Also, Lilikoi has such a fantastic flavor, and I knew it would work well in a Brulee.

Crème Brulee is one of those desserts that can sound complicated and intimidating but really is quite simple. It comes together quickly with just a few simple ingredients. Probably the hardest part is being patient while it chills in the refrigerator.

STEPS TO MAKING LILIKOI CREAM BRULEE

  • Preheated oven to 325°F. Arrange four 8-ounce ramekins (or five 6-ounce ramekins) in a baking dish.

  • In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Then whisk in passion fruit juice. Set aside.

  • Add the cream to a small saucepan. Heat the cream over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Bring the cream to about 180°F (do not boil).
  • Slowly drizzle 1 cup of the hot cream into the eggs, whisking the eggs quickly the entire time. Then, slowly pour the remainder of the cream over the egg mixture, whisking constantly.

*Raising the temperature of the eggs slowly (tempering the eggs) prevents them from cooking or curdling when a hot liquid is added, which could leave bits of cooked eggs forming in the dessert (think scrambled eggs). Also, tempering your eggs helps to create a silky, smooth texture.

  • Heat a pot or kettle of water and bring it to a gentle boil (this will be used for a water bath).
  • Pour the cream mixture evenly into the ramekins. Next, carefully pour just enough boiling water into the baking dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins, creating a water bath. 

  • Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. The depth of the ramekins will determine how long it takes for the custards to bake. They are done when they are just set (it will still jiggle a little, but there should be no liquid remaining in the center). Remove the pan from the oven and then carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath and allow them to cool to room temperature. Then cover and refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.

  • Just before serving, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the top of each ramekin. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar; move the torch back and forth until the sugar melts and turns a dark amber color. This may take a minute or two.
**If you do not have a kitchen torch, you can use the broiler in your oven. Place ramekins on a pan and place them under the broiler 2 to 3 inches from the heat source. Turn broiler on high. Cook until sugar melts and turns a dark amber color, about 2-5 minutes. Be sure to watch it closely (do not walk away from the oven); the sugar can burn quickly.
 

Lilikoi Creme Brulee

Four simple ingredients – cream, lilikoi juice, eggs, and sugar – make for an exquisitely decadent and elegant dessert.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Chill Time: 3 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

  • 8 ounce Ramekins (you can use 6 ounce ramekins and get 5 servings)

Ingredients
 

  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, plus more for topping
  • ½ cup fresh lilikoi juice, (if using store-bought lilikoi juice, make sure no sugar has been added)
  • 1 ¾ cups heavy cream

Instructions
 

  • Preheated oven to 325°F. Arrange four 8-ounce ramekins (or five 6-ounce ramekins) in a baking dish.
  • In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Then whisk in passion fruit juice. Set aside.
  • Add the cream to a small saucepan. Heat the cream over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Bring the cream to about 180°F (do not boil).
  • Slowly drizzle 1 cup of the hot cream into the eggs, whisking the eggs quickly the entire time. Then, slowly pour the remainder of the cream over the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
  • Heat a pot or kettle of water and bring it to a gentle boil (this will be used for a water bath).
  • Pour the cream mixture evenly into the ramekins (ramekins should be arranged in a baking dish). Carefully pour just enough boiling water into the baking dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins, creating a water bath. Careful not to get any water in the cream Brulee. **It helps to use a kettle or pitcher to pour the water.
  • Being careful not to spill the water, place the pan with the ramekins into the oven. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. The depth of the ramekins will determine how long it takes for the custards to bake. They are done when they are just set (it will still jiggle a little, but there should be no liquid remaining in the center). Remove the pan from the oven and then carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath and allow them to cool to room temperature. Then cover and refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
    **Be sure to let the custard set for at least three hours in the refrigerator before brûléeing the top; otherwise, you'll end up with soupy custard.
  • Just before serving, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the top of each ramekin. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar; move the torch back and forth until the sugar melts and turns a dark amber color. This may take a minute or two.
    **If you do not have a kitchen torch, you can use the broiler in your oven. Place ramekins on a pan and place them under the broiler 2 to 3 inches from the heat source. Turn broiler on high. Cook until sugar melts and turns a dark amber color, about 2-5 minutes. Be sure to watch it closely; the sugar can burn quickly.
  • Serve within two hours of caramelizing the sugar.
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