Chocolate Hazelnut Creme Brûlée has a rich and creamy custard base that is covered with a crunchy caramelized sugar crust.
It tastes like the smoothest most decadent chocolate pudding I have ever had.
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Chocolate hazelnut creme brûlée uses the same basic ingredients that all creme brûlées use: cream, eggs, and salt with one special addition, I swapped chocolate hazelnut spread in for the sugar. The chocolate hazelnut spread is so sweet you don’t need any extra sugar.
The most common brand of chocolate hazelnut spread is Nutella. Many people love Nutella myself included. In fact, according to Mentalfloss.com one jar of Nutella is sold every 2.5 seconds throughout the world.
Creme brûlée does require a couple of pieces of specialized equipment.
Fine Mesh Strainer: Straining the custard removes any eggy bits and creates a smooth texture.
Large Measuring Cup: I like to strain my custard into a large measuring cup to make pouring the custard into the ramekins easier. If you are planning to wait to bake your creme brûlée, you can use this large glass measuring cup that comes with a lid for easy storage.
Ramekins: These wide shallow ramekins work best. Deeper ramekins take longer to bake, allowing the edges to overcooked before the center has set.
The wider ramekins also allow for a higher ratio of crunchy sugar crust to creamy custard.
Cake Pan: Like most cheesecakes creme brûlée is baked in a bain-marie or water bath. Surrounding the creme brûlées with water allows them to cook gently and will help keep them from cracking.
Kitchen Torch: Butane torches have a number of uses in the kitchen. They can char peppers, toast meringue, melt cheese, and brown bread crumbs. The kitchen torches from EurKitchen and Sondiko have consistently rated high in top kitchen torch lists.
Prepare the oven. Move an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Heat the cream and hazelnut spread. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the cream and hazelnut spread over medium-high heat, whisking to dissolve the hazelnut spread until it begins to simmer. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Whisk the egg yolks and salt together. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the egg yolks and salt until smooth.
Temper the eggs with the cream. When adding the hot cream to the eggs, you need to do so slowly to prevent the eggs from curdling. This is called tempering.
To do this, continuously whisk the yolks while you slowly pour in the warm cream. If the mixture starts to look like scrambled eggs, the hot cream has started to cook the eggs. Unfortunately you will need to start over.
Strain the custard. I like to strain my custard into a large measuring cup to make pouring the custard into the ramekins easier. Place a fine mesh strainer over a large measuring cup and carefully pour the custard through. Straining the custard removes any eggy bits and creates a smooth texture.
Quick Tip: Immediately rinse the strainer with cold water to remove any egg particles before they become stuck.
Cook the custard. Creme brulee needs to cook slowly and gently. Which is why we will use a bain-marie or water bath.
The size of pan you use will depend upon the size of ramekins you have. I have used cake pans, roasting pans, and jelly roll pans. No need to purchase a special pan just use whatever you already own.
Lay a towel across the bottom of the pan and arrange your ramekins on top. The towel will keep the ramekins from sliding around.
Pour the custard into the ramekins. If you want perfectly smooth creme brulee, use a spoon to skim off any bubbles from the top or don’t worry about it any imperfections will be covered by the burnt sugar crust.
Place the pan in the oven and then pour hot water into the pan being careful to not splash water into the ramekins. The water should come about halfway up the ramekins.
Bake for 15 to 25 minutes until the edges are set but the centers are still slightly jiggly. The baking time will vary depending upon the size of your ramekins.
Cool the custard. Remove the baking dish from the oven and allow the custards to cool for approximately 15 minutes until you can safely pick up the ramekins and remove them from the water. Allow the custards to cool on the counter for an additional 15 minutes.
Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and chill them in the refrigerator for at least four hours and up to four days.
Brûlée the sugar topping. Remove the custards from the refrigerator and evenly sprinkle each custard with 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
Ignite your torch and hold the flame about 4 inches from the surface of the custard. Using a circular motion heat the sugar until it browns and forms a crust.
If you want a really thick crust sprinkle a second teaspoon of sugar evenly across each custard and brûlée a second time.
The longer you brulee the sugar, the darker, more caramelized, and bitter it will become. The bitterness contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the custard.
For more tips and tricks and frequently asked questions check out this post: How to Make Perfect Creme Brûlée.
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