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Cherry Creme Brûlée with Stewed Cherries

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  • Serves: 6 - 8
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  • 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen pitted cherries, thawed at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons red wine
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon cherry extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1-½ cups white baking chocolate (8 ounces)
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 8 maraschino cherries (see tips)


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Make sure the cherries were previously pitted.

In a small pan, combine the cherries, red wine and ½ cup sugar. Using a paring knife, scrape and gather all the grains of the vanilla bean. Add the grains of vanilla to the cherries. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-11 minutes. Set aside.

Break the white chocolate bar and finely chop it using a chef’s knife. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the cream and milk. Bring it to a near boil. Turn off the heat immediately and add the chocolate chips. Using a spatula, keep stirring until the chocolate is fully incorporated (see tips).

In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with ¼ cup of sugar until they become pale yellow. Add the cherry extract and salt. Combine the dairy liquid with the egg mixture by slowly adding a ladle of the dairy liquid at a time to prevent the yolks from curdling (it’s called tempering).

Strain through a fine mesh and discard all the solids.

Place 3 stewed cherries with as little liquid as possible in (3-½-inch diameter) mini-bowls (make sure they are heat-proof). Fill the 8 mini-bowls with the crème brulée custard. Place them in a warm water bath in a deep baking pan. The water should go half-way up the side of the ramekins (at least a 1-½-inch-high level of water). Loosely cover the dish with a sheet of aluminum foil and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes. The texture of the crèmes brulées should be a little jiggly but not liquid (the custard will get firmer and creamier as it chills in the refrigerator).

Allow the crèmes brulées to cool completely first, then plastic-wrap each individual cup and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. The fat from the cream may pick up other food odors from the refrigerator if the cups are not sealed properly.

When serving, unwrap the cups and sprinkle about 1-½ teaspoons of sugar in each cup, then caramelize with a culinary torch.

Pat the maraschino cherries dry using paper towels. There should be no maraschino cherry syrup; otherwise it will turn the bruléed-sugar crust soggy. Top each bowl with a maraschino cherry.

Serve the crèmes brulées on a large platter with a bowl of the remaining stewed cherries on the side (in case someone wants more stewed cherries on top).


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