I love at-home dates. They are an excuse to pull out the wedding china and sit at the dining room table. We even dress up for our at-home dates and light candles to set the mood. (Candles are a big deal because we never light them. The cats are fascinated with fire, and after one cat accidentally took some whiskers off, we banned the use of candles in the house.)
My favorite part of these dates is the dessert. I love baking, and I use these dates as an excuse to make fancy desserts. But to me, the best part about a fancy dessert is one that looks like I spent ages preparing it, but in reality, it was quite easy to make. I think creme brulee is one of those desserts that looks topnotch and makes everyone think you worked super hard to make it. What they don’t know is that I made the custard the night before and wanted a reason to pull out my mini-blowtorch!
Seriously, creme brulee is a dessert that has the reputation for being hard to make, but it really isn’t. “Water baths? What are those?!?!” is what a lot of people think. A water bath just means you are letting the dessert have a spa day in an oven sauna. Also, people see the time it takes to make creme brulee and get freaked out. And they shouldn’t. The reason creme brulee takes so long to make is that it needs to cool after baking.
So today, I am sharing my recipe for Southern Peach Creme Brulee in hopes that you will be inspired to make your very own, fancy-looking dessert. This dessert is also being entered into the Dixie Crystals Sweet ‘n Southern Dessert Recipe Contest. I am super excited about the Sweet ‘n Southern Dessert Recipe contest because I am taking something typically French and putting my own Southern spin on it. Bon Appétit y’all!
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbs honey
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup Dixie Crystals Sugar for the custard mixture
- ½ cup-ish Dixie Crystals Sugar to sprinkle on top of the brulee
- 6 peaches
- 2 Tbs Dixie Crystals Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Tbs vanilla extract (yes, it is listed twice!)
- 1 Tbs bourbon or rum (if you don't want to use alcohol, just use another Tbs vanilla)
- Preheat the oven to 325 °F.
- Cut up the six peaches into chunks.
- Put the peaches into a sauce pan with two tablespoons of Dixie Crystals Light Brown Sugar, a tablespoon of vanilla, and a tablespoon of bourbon or rum. I used Kill Devil Pecan and Honey Rum, which is made in Manteo, NC. If you don't want to use alcohol, just use another tablespoon of vanilla.
- Let the peaches simmer on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Stir the mixture occasionally. You will know when they are done when the sauce starts to caramelize.
- While the peaches are simmering, put the heavy cream, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of honey in another sauce pan. (The honey is optional. It depends on if you want a sweeter custard or not.)
- Heat up the heavy cream until hot, but do not let it boil.
- While the cream is heating up, whisk together the egg yolks and a ½ cup of sugar until smooth.
- Pour the hot heavy cream slowly-- very slowly-- into the egg mixture. Stir constantly as your pour in the cream because you don't want to scramble your eggs. This egg and cream mixture is the custard base for your creme brulee.
- By this point, your peaches should be done. Let them cool for just a little bit.
- Once the peaches have cooled, cover the entire bottom of the ramekins with a layer of peaches. You might have a few peaches left over, and if you do, serve them on top of your creme brulee! Yummy!
- Now pour the custard over the peaches. I used 4 inch ramekins and made 6 creme brulees. You can use smaller ramekins.
- Put the ramekins into a 9 x 13 sheet cake pan.
- Slowly pour water into the pan, but make sure you do not get any water into the custard mixture. You want the water to go about a ½ inch up on the outside of the ramekins.
- Let the custard cook for 45-50 minutes. You want the sides firm and the middle to still be a little jiggly. This custard will be a tan cooler, whereas most brulee custards are a creamy color.
- Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (You can also leave them over night and melt the sugar right before serving them the next day.)
- Sprinkle an even, thin coat of sugar on the top of the custard. You will probably use around a tablespoon of sugar for each ramekin.
- Either torch the sugar until it melts and gets crispy or use the broiler setting on your oven. If you put them in the oven, watch them carefully!
- Now use a spoon to crack the sugar top and enjoy!