Chestnut Crème Brûlée is not your average crème brûlée recipe. The warm and nutty chestnut flavor adds a unique feel to everyone’s favorite burnt cream dessert. Milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar, and chestnut spread is all you need to craft this marvelous dessert. We’re also talking about the difference between crème brûlée, flan, and crema Catalana.
Hello my friends. I am so excited about sharing this riff on the famous and old-fashioned crème brûlée. Crème brulee, and other custard desserts are my all-time favorites. Sometimes a subtle change, throwing in a new flavor, is all you need to add some new excitement to a dish, and that’s what a chestnut spread does for this classic French burnt cream.
That’s right. If you were wondering what does Crème Brûlée mean, it’s precisely that: burnt cream, so how hard can it be, right?
It turns out that this French dessert is super easy to make, but there’s a couple of techniques behind this custard dessert. I will show you how easy it is to make with some simple steps, and you’ll only have to add some love and passion to get this chestnut crème brûlée just right. You'll be torching that custard to golden perfection and filling your house with the loveliest caramel aromas in no time.
The chestnut crème brûlée is a fantastic dessert for special dinners. Served in individual ramekins, the custard has a lovely presentation, and you can even make it ahead, so you can take care of your guests without having to worry about checking on your dessert course. Create a showstopper moment by torching the crème brûlée in front of your guests.
How to Make Chestnut Crème Brûlée
I’m sure you already have four out of the five ingredients we’ll need today: milk, heavy cream, eggs, and sugar. The fifth one is not to be overlooked because it’s the dessert’s soul — the chestnut spread. You might be familiar with commercial nut spreads, but I do suggest you use a top-of-the-line artisan spread for your crème brûlée. I use Clement Faugier Creme de Marrons de l'Ardeche, a superb chestnut spread made with artisan methods since 1885 in the French southern Rhone Valley. You can find it in our shop.
Before you start to make the custard, pre-heat your oven, measure all your ingredients and separate the eggs. Then, the rest is easy like a cool summer breeze.
First, heat milk and cream in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the mixture just comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
Then whisk the egg yolks and sugar for about 2 minutes. Add the chestnut spread and whisk until smooth.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture until combined.
Pour the custard mixture evenly into 8 ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking tray, and put the tray in the oven (see photo) and carefully pour into the tray enough hot water to come up halfway the sides of the ramekins. FYI, this process of baking the ramekins inside (a bath) of another pan or pot of water is called bain-marie. Bake for 55 minutes.
When they are done baking, remove the ramekins from the pan, and transfer them to a wire rack. Let them cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours, or until ready to serve.
To complete the process and serve your chestnut creme brulee, cover the ramekins evenly with a thin layer of sugar. You can use regular white sugar, but I prefer the Demerara sugar for a darker burnt.
Using a kitchen torch, torch the tops until the sugar caramelizes. You don’t have a torch? Don’t worry... Use the oven’s broiler until you see all the sugar caramelized. Make sure you do this step after the chestnut crème brûlée has been set in the refrigerator for several hours.
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Now that we’re ready to make a creamy and nutty chestnut crème brûlée, join me for a second to learn about the different desserts in the burnt cream family.
Difference between Crème Brûlée, Flan, and Crema Catalana
When it comes to custardy desserts, there’s more than one option. I love them all, and here are the most important ones.
Crème brûlée of course is the most famous dessert in the custard family. The original dish is made pretty much how we just went through it, except using vanilla instead of chestnut cream. Interestingly, experts think the dessert was created in England and not France, where it went by the name of burnt cream. There’s a recipe for it in a 17th-century Dorsetshire cookbook. It was the classic American cookbook Joy of Cooking (1931) that attributed the dessert to the French.
Flan, also known as crème caramel or caramel pudding, goes back to the Ancient Romans, who took them to Europe, becoming popular throughout the Middle Ages. The flan is as Italian as it is French, English, or Spanish, although there are some variations. At the end of the day, it’s been around for over 2000 years!
A flan custard is a mixture of egg, milk, and sugar. This custard mixture is baked in a bain-marie bath in the oven with the caramel on the bottom of the mold and the custard mixture on top. After it's cooked and completely cooled, the flan is inverted onto a plate showing the jiggly custard with a golden caramel sauce that entirely covers the flan's top!
Difference between Flan and Crème Brûlée
The difference between flan and crème brûlée is that crème brûlée is made with heavy cream, and the custard is cooked on the stove until it reaches a thick consistency and then baked. Flan has milk instead of cream, and it’s not cooked on the stove before going into the oven.
Crema Catalana, popular in the North-eastern corner of Spain, looks and tastes like crème brûlée, but there’s a significant difference. Crème brûlée is cooked in a bain-marie, and the Crema Catalana is cooked over a low flame in a pot on the stove, so they have a different texture. Some Catalan cream may also have cornstarch in its ingredients. The French crème brûlée is made with cream and aromatized with vanilla, while the crema Catalana is made of milk and fragranced with cinnamon and lemon zest. Before serving crema Catalana, sugar is sprinkled on top and browned using a torch like we do with the crème brûlée.
And that concludes this week’s Spoonabilities history lesson. Now let’s make our Chestnut Crème Brûlée!
More Creamy Custardy Desserts
If you love creamy custard desserts as much as I do, here are some more you won’t be able to resist:
- Pumpkin Coconut Panna Cotta
- Whipped Sabayon with Fresh Strawberries
- Jalea de Batata Dulce
- Pumpkin Magic Cake
- Pumpkin Rice Pudding
I hope you get a chance to make this Chestnut Crème Brûlée. Did you make this or another recipe? Tag @Spoonabilities on Instagram or add a photo or comment on Pinterest, so we can find you! And we love to hear from you in the comment section below.
Your Recipe Concierge!
Five ingredients is all it takes to make Chestnut Crème Brûlée. Milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar, and a sweet and nutty chestnut spread is all you need to craft this beautiful burnt cream. A Corsican riff on the French crème brûlée, you can make this creamy dessert up to two days ahead of serving.
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Heat milk and heavy cream in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the mixture just comes to a boil. Then remove from heat and set aside.
- Whisk the egg yolks and ¼ cup of sugar in a separate medium mixing bowl. Whisk for about two minutes until well combined, smooth and pale color. Add the chestnut spread and whisk until it is well combined.
- Gradually add hot milk mixture into beaten egg chestnut mixture, but keep whisking while you are pouring the hot milk. Whisk until it is combined.
- Pour custard mixture evenly into 8 ramekins, and place ramekins in a baking tray. Pull out the oven rack halfway and put the tray in the oven. Then carefully pour enough hot water in the tray to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 55 minutes.
- Take the baking tray out of the oven, and remove the ramekins using a large spatula, and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Let cool for about an hour to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
- To serve, sprinkle ramekins evenly with the remaining ½ cup sugar. Using a kitchen torch, torch tops until sugar caramelizes.
Crème brûlée may be made up to step #6 up to 2 days ahead.
Don’t have a torch? Don’t worry... Use the oven’s broiler until you see all the sugar caramelized. Make sure you do this step after the chestnut crème brûlées have been set in the refrigerator for several hours.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: bain-marie bath
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: Crème brûlée, Crema Catalana, custard dessert, flan, baked custard, burnt cream, Catalan Burnt Cream, Burned cream, Burnt cream, Trinity cream, Cambridge burnt cream, French dessert, Spanish dessert, Latin dessert, bain-marie bath, egg custard dessert, egg dessert recipe, Chestnut spread, Crème Brûlée recipe, what is Crème Brûlée, what does Crème Brûlée mean
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