Free Form Crème Brulée
August 18th, 2010 by

Fresh Corn and Blueberry Cake with Lemon Crème Brulée, Candied Corn, and Blueberry Basil Sorbet

This weekend my sister came to dinner! She gave me two weeks notice and very specific instructions. 1. my dessert had to be delicious. 2. It had to involve caramel. 3. If I could avoid chocolate that would be great because the friend that she would be dining with dislikes it. Actually on second thought those aren’t very specific directions, but I knew that one of her favorite desserts is crème brulée. When she was younger she used to drive my family mad by eating it in microscopic bites but since I wouldn’t be there to watch her eat it, I figured I would give her something I knew she would love.

The rest of the dessert was really quite simple. Blueberries and corn are both in season right now, and not only do I love them both, but they go well together. Corn may seem like a savory-only ingredient to some people, in which case I urge you consider the innate sweetness of fresh corn. Plus corn is a little earthy and pops juice in your mouth when cooked properly. Therefore, I wanted to play up the perfectness of the corn with blueberries by keeping it simple and clean but accented by the luxuriousness of a slightly acidic crème brulée.

This dish is a vanilla cake filled with blueberries and fresh corn that sits on top of a lemon custard that has been topped with sugar and burned. It is accented by a blueberry basil sorbet that rests upon “candied corn.” I wanted to continue with the fresh corn theme so I caramelized sugar and tossed in the roasted corn kernels. I will admit that I expected to end up with fresh corn coated with caramel but since the corn was cooler and wetter than the caramel it forced the caramel to seize. So while some of the corn was nicely coated, some of the caramel   crystallized forming little nuggets of sugar. This turned out to be exactly the contrast in textures that I wanted. This dish is the simplest dish I have made yet, but I also think it may be one of my best. The textures and flavors contrasted nicely: it wasn’t too sweet, but it was sweet enough to be identified as dessert, and utilized a technique (the free form crème brulée) that was slightly unusual and interesting.

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