You’ll probably need cheering up this morning after the election results and, if you want to make a dinner party-worthy dessert that will make you friends for life, look no further than this chocolate crème brûlée surprise. It’s ridiculously simple to make ahead and you can mix up the surprise element every time you serve it. You tap into the crisp caramel topping, scoop up the trembling, rich dark chocolate crème and then a little bit of something extra at the bottom of the dish…….a little cherry conserve, some sharp orange curd, a touch of salted caramel perhaps. I’ve experimented with lots of different surprise layers – all delicious!
- 175g of good quality (at least 70%+ coco-solids) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 3 egg yolks (save the whites to make pavlova – they freeze well)
- 500 ml double cream
- Caster sugar for the brûlée topping
- For the surprise: 6 dessert spoons of Morello cherry conserve, or dulce de leche, or orange curd…..any surprise you like!
- Optional: a tablespoon of Kahlua or dark rum. Omit if you will be serving this to children.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C.
- Place six individual oven-proof ceramic mousse or ramekin dishes in a large roasting tin. Add a dessert spoon of the ‘surprise’ of your choice in the bottom of each dish and spread it evenly across the base.
- Pour the double cream into a non-stick milk pan and add the chocolate pieces. Over a low heat, melt the chocolate in the cream. Whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. Add the Kahlua or rum now if you’re going for this option.
- Meanwhile, whisk the eggs yolks thoroughly in a large mixing jug – I use my Pyrex one as it makes it easier to pour the mixture into the serving dishes.
- Pour the cooled chocolate and cream mixture into the yolks, whisking quickly as you pour. Whisk until smooth and the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.
- Fill the six pots equally with the chocolate mixture.
- Boil a kettle of water and fill the roasting tin with the chocolate pots until it reaches about half way up. Be careful not to get the water into the chocolate.
- Put the tray in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. A thin film should have formed on the top of each chocolate pot. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, lift the pots out of the water and refrigerate overnight. I usually empty the water from the tray, put the pots back in and then store them in the fridge.
- A couple of hours before you want to serve the dessert, take it out of the fridge.
- No more than 30 minutes before you serve, make the brûlée topping. Cover the top of each pot with caster sugar, swirl it around a little so the top is evenly covered and tip away any excess sugar. Using a cook’s blowtorch, or a very hot grill, melt the sugar so that it melts and forms a thin, crisp caramelised crust. Be careful not to burn it or it will taste bitter. Don’t refrigerate them again or make the topping earlier than 30 minutes before you want it or the sugar topping will liquefy.
- Serve to moans of delight………especially when they find the surprise!