Roasted Pineapple Creme Brulee (with a hint of chilli, if you like!)

There is nothing more satisfying than cracking the top of a burnished creme brulee with the back of your spoon...oh, other than actually eating it of course!

My recipe below adds a tropical pineapple lightness to the luscious creaminess that you expect from this dessert.  It is quite refreshing and perfect for Summer.  If you want to, experiment with that fingernail of chilli, it just adds a (very) subtle warmth to the end of each spoonful, and paired with that pinch of cinnamon, it is quite divine.

One thing, do make sure that you catch every last grain of sugar by that torch/grill, there is nothing nice about biting into a spoonful of un-caramelised sugar (unless you are trying to help the medicine to go down...) .

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time:   10 minutes prep + 45 minutes cooking + 2 hours cooling

serves 4 

300 ml double cream                                  

200g fresh pineapple, in chunks

zest of one lime

5 egg yolks                                                                                                              

120g caster sugar                                                                                                         

large pinch of cinnamon

red chilli, about half an inch, roughly chopped

demerara sugar, 1tbsp + extra for topping

melted butter, for grilling pineapple

1.  Place the chunks of pineapple on a baking tray, brush with the melted butter and sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the pineapple.  

2.  Place under a medium-high grill for about 5 - 8 minutes, turning halfway, until both sides are caramelised and golden, or use a chef's torch to caramelise.

3.  Pre-heat the oven to 150C

4.  Puree the pineapple in a blender until smooth.

5.  On a medium heat, in a saucepan, add the double cream, the pineapple puree, the cinnamon, lime zest and the chilli, if using.  Bring the mixture near to boiling point, stirring often, and remove from the heat.  

6.  In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks and sugar, with an electric whisk if you have one, until light and fluffy. 

7.  Pour the hot cream mixture through a fine sieve (using the back of a large spoon to help push through all that lovely flavour) , into the egg and sugar mixture, whisking as you go.  Set aside. 

8.  Place the ramekins into a large, high-sided roasting tray.  Carefully pour just boiled water into the tray, to reach halfway up the ramekins. (Creating a bain-marie).

9.  Pour the hot cream into the ramekins, to fill two-thirds.

10.  Place the roasting tray into the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes until set, but with a jelly-like wobble in the centre.  Keep an eye on this. 

11.  Remove from the bain-marie and let cool, then refrigerate for a couple hours, or overnight.

12.  Sprinkle the demerara sugar to cover the surface of the cream, using the back of a spoon to even it out.  Use a chef's torch (moving the flame in a circular motion) or a grill on a medium-high heat, to caramelise the sugar.   

13.  Cool, and place back in the fridge to firm up before serving.