Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chocolate Almond Creme Brulee, 2nd Place Chocolate Dish of the Day


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Fair is over and I am getting my kitchen back in order.  It has been a busy week.  I worked all week and then prepared my dish of the day and headed to the fair every night for competition.  The next several post I will share my recipes for dishes that I made for the competition.  The pictures are not the best as they were taken on the display table at the fair after they had been judged.  I hope you enjoy seeing my week in review!

This was my entry in the Chocolate Dish of the Day.  I won 2nd place with this dish.  I had to be careful when I was torching the sugar on top because I was setting the almond slices on fire.  Next time I think I would leave the almond slices off the top of the dessert.

Chocolate Almond Creme Brulee
adapted from: Whats cooking America

Chocolate Praline (see recipe below)
1 vanilla bean
1 Cup whipping cream
1 Cup milk
6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate chopped
1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur
1 tablespoon Kahlua liqueur
4 tablespoons granulated sugar, for topping
1/2 Cup toasted Almond slices

Prepare Chocolate Praline; set aside.

Toast Almonds slices in 300 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes; set aside

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to center position. Butter four to six ramekins or custard cups and set them into a glass baking dish. If cooking custards in a metal pan, cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of newspaper to ensure an even temperature on the bottom.

Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise; scrape seeds into a saucepan. Add vanilla pod, whipping cream, and milk. Over medium heat, stir until mixture just begins to boil; remove from heat. Remove vanilla pods from cream mixture and discard

Place chocolate and chocolate praline into a microwave-safe glass bowl; heat until soft at 50% power approximately 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir chocolate until smooth.

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until slightly thickened. Add sugar and mix until dissolved; mix in 1/2 cup of hot cream mixture. Add remaining hot cream mixture and mix until well combined. Pour mixture into a blender; add hot melted chocolate and whirl until no chocolate flecks remain. Pour mixture through a fine strainer into a large glass measuring cup or bowl. Stir in Amaretto and Kahlua liqueur.

Pour chocolate mixture into prepared ramekins or custard cups.  Sprinkle the toasted almond slices on top of each ramekin.  Bring the water for the water bath to a light simmer on top of the stove; carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come half-way up the sides of the custard cups.

Bake approximately 45 minutes or until set around the edges but still loose in the center. The cooking time will depend largely on the size of the ramekin or custard cup you are using, but begin checking at a half hour and check back regularly. When the center of the custard is just set, it will jiggle a little when shaken, that's when you can remove it from the oven. If using a digital instant-read thermometer, inserted in the centers, it should register 170 to 175 degrees F. Begin checking temperature about 5 minutes before recommended time.

Remove ramekins or custard cups from water bath and cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to serve, sprinkle approximately 2 teaspoons of remaining sugar over each crème brulee. For best results, use a small hand held propane torch. Hold the torch 4 to 5 inches from the sugar, maintaining a slow and even motion. Stop torching just before the desired degree of doneness is reached, as the sugar will continue to cook for a few seconds after flame has been removed. If you don't have a torch, place crème brulees  6 inches below the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes or until sugar bubbles and turns golden brown.

Refrigerate crème brulees at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve within 1 hour, as topping will deteriorate.

Makes 4 to 6 servings (depending on size of custard cups).

Chocolate Praline:
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 teaspoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa

Lightly coat a 12-inch square of aluminum foil with vegetable oil.
In a large frying pan over low heat, combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, and milk; stir until mixture is bubbly and just starts to turn golden, approximately 5 to 7 minutes; immediately remove from heat and stir in almond extract and unsweetened cocoa and stir until smooth. Pour mixture onto oiled aluminum foil and spread. Let cool until solid, about 10 minutes. Break praline into 6 to 8 large chunks.