Friday, March 8, 2013

French Fridays with Dorie - Cheesy Crème Brûlée


Today the recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Cheesy Crème Brûlée, a savory version of a French classic sweet dessert - little pots of deliciously creamy cheesy custards topped with fabulous broiled and melted cheese.




Traditionally, Crème Brûlée is a classic bistro dish of chilled creamy custard under a layer of crackling burnt sugar. It is an an important dessert for pastry chefs to master. Dorie´s version, however, has a somewhat different cooking method and the ingredients are savory rather than sweet.

Dorie´s recipe calls for a total of five ounces (140 grams) of cheese, a combination of Parmigiano Reggiano (a hard, granular cheese, cooked but not pressed, named after the producing areas near Parma, Italy) and Comté (a French cheese made from unpasteurized cow's milk in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France), fresh heavy cream (I used 35%), whole milk, and three large egg yolks, plus salt and freshly ground nutmeg and pepper. The Comté cheese is often referred to as the French equivalent of the Swiss Gruyère cheese and it can be found at every good cheese store around here – I always appreciate an excuse to go to my favorite cheese store and marvel at the display while I am waiting to get served – the promise of a delicious Cheesy Crème Brûlée was indeed a fabulous reason to stand in line at the cheese store.

For the baking of these cheesy custards, you will need some shallow ovenproof dishes or  brûlée dishes or large/wide ramekins. And unless you use the broiler in your oven, you will also need a mini blowtorch to brown the cheese on top of the custard. After you lined the brulée dishes with very small cubes of cheese (actually I ended up grating the two cheeses instead of cutting minitaure cubes), you prepare the custard, fill it into the dishes, bake the custard for about fifty minutes, let cool, sprinkle grated cheese on top and either brown the tops using a mini blowtorch or run the custard under the broiler.

The two cheeses used in this recipe taste wonderful together - I often use Comté and appreciate the fact that it melts so nicely for example in a cheese fondue. But I think that Swiss Gruyère would also be perfect in this custard as well. Dorie also suggests Cheddar cheese as an alternative, a cheese not often used around here and since I can easily find good French cheeses, I opted for a fabulous Comté AOC Bronze.




Predictably, I had some Comté and Parmigiano Reggiano left over. So I decided to bake a few savory Cheesy Palmiers. Those pastries are thought to have originated in France around the turn of the 20th century. Around here they are known as "Schweineöhrchen" which can be literally translated as "pig's ears".

Palmiers are made from puff pastry, a laminated dough similar to the dough used for Croissants but without the yeast. Since I am still “recovering” from the two day task of baking the Croissants for the TwD group, I decided to use store bought all butter puff pastry. For the Cheesy Palmiers, you simply roll out the pastry and coat it with grated cheeses of choice, a tiny bit of sea salt, and freshly ground pepper and nutmeg to taste. Then the two sides are rolled up together so that they meet in the middle, making a roll that is best frozen for a good thirty minutes and then simply cut into about 1/4" (0.6 centimeter) slices and baked until nicely browned and really crisp.

For a fun presentation, very carefully thread a nice ribbon through the top of the Cheesy Palmiers and place together with the serving spoon on top of some pretty napkins.




Except for the youngest taste tester (who is all but four years of age), this cheesy creamy custard with the slightly browned cheese top was very well received at our house. And they all happily munched away on those Palmiers. The Cheesy Crème Brulée will certainly be a wonderful dish to serve to guests and I really appreciate the fact that the custards can be baked well in advance, kept in the fridge and quickly be ran under the broiler just before serving. A wonderful and elegant recipe to keep in mind for example at Easter time.

To see how delicious the Cheesy Crème Brûlée made by the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group turned out, please click here.



Sources:
  • Crème brûlée dishes from "TCM" (http://www.tchibo.de) 
  • Linen napkins (checkered, dolka dot and mushroom design) and checkered ribbon from "Butlers" (http://www.butlers.de) and "Depot" (http://www.depot-online.com)
  • Cutlery and spoons with fairy tale designs from "WMF" (http://www.wmf.de)







34 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a very successful experience. They look delicious. I pretty much like cheese anything. Your little pastry looks so elegant. Nice work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cindy, thank you very much - these cheesy custards were really delicious although I had my doubts at first. I think they would make a fabulous "savory dessert" for those who enjoy some cheese at the end of their meal.

      Delete
  2. Oh my goodness!! for someone who adores cheese these look and sound simply wonderful :))
    Mary x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, thank you very much - this recipe was intriguing and it turned out delicious - it is elegant enough to be served at a dinner party and I am planning on making this for the Easter brunch.

      Delete
  3. Cheese Brulee sounds just wonderful. And your presentation is just lovely! No wonder you received such accolades.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Beth - it is nice that most of us can agree on those "cheesy dishes".

      Delete
  4. Beautiful job:) I love your presentation of Cheesy Palmiers. We enjoyed this dish at my house also. Hope you have a nice weekend:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Geraldine, thanks so much for the lovely comment!

      Delete
  5. Beautiful combination, it all looks delicious. We enjoyed these very much and will be repeating them soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nana, I liked the variety of cheese that you used for your Cheesy Crème Brûlées - gave the final dish a lovely color.

      Delete
  6. I'm sorry if I sound like I'm prejudice but I think there is no one better than you when it comes to the presentation of the dishes in these challenges. Absolutely lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Karen, your compliment makes me blush, for sure - I really appreciate such a wonderful and kind comment from you! Thanks so much! Have a great weekend!

      Delete
  7. Simply gorgeous! Makes me want to eat this dish all over again! And I love those adorable palmiers. This was such a neat little recipe, and you've really put the fun into it! Lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sara, thank you so much - I am trying to have a bit of "fun" with these recipes because when I cook for my family every single day, I need to be a bit creative - I want the foods to be beautifully presented, that is extremly important to me, it should look appetizing and make the kids want to try out new things, so far so good, it seems to work for now.

      Delete
  8. Beautiful, as always, Andrea! I love the idea of matching palmiers. The only thing I like better than cheese and eggs is pastry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teresa, thanks very much, it is funny when it comes to baking with cheese - the baked goods taste utterly irresisitible and the house smells heavenly, whether their are in the form of creamy custards or cheesy palmiers.

      Delete
  9. Good cheeses are a marvel really, I agree. I still have to make these, but they look really delicious Andrea! And you reminded me I haven´t made palmiers in ages. With cheese, I´m dying to try them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paula, thanks for the comment - Palmiers, especially the savory kind, are always a huge hit at our house, I never, ever have any left over and that makes me a happy baker - because of the cheese, they smell absolutely fantastic while baking - and that is just wonderful too.

      Delete
  10. A gorgeous presentation, Andrea!! Love how your table looks just like spring!! Your Palmiers are such a wonderful addition to the very lovely Cheesy Brulee! Have a wonderful weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, thanks for the comment - spring time is what I had in mind when I made those Palmiers and I am glad that it shows.

      Delete
  11. Andrea - the palmiers are such a lovely addition. Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cher, thank you very much - this is the time of year that we look for some delicate and pretty things to add to our tables and these Palmiers just seemed to be just what I was looking for.

      Delete
  12. I love the palmiers themselves and your presentation of them - beautiful and perfect with the cheesy custard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teresa, thanks, the "matching" Palmiers were nice with the creamy, cheesy custards.

      Delete
  13. So beautiful and creative! I couldn't squeeze this one into my schedule this week, but seeing your post makes me want to go back and make this one up very soon. Such great ideas. A nice Easter idea. And your palmiers are such a lovely addition...loved your write-up and all your great photos. I always learn something new from visiting your site...thanks for doing such a great job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kris, thanks so much - this cheesey créme brûlée will grace our Easter table, at least I am planning on it - it looks special enough and it tastes wonderful so I am certainly going to make this again for a special occasion like Easter.

      Delete
  14. Beautiful presentation, and I'm certain that this tasted out of this world. Anything with that amount of high quality cheese has to taste amazing. I love the palmiers too. So pretty! Thank you for sharing. I hope this week is full of good things...much laughter...and delicious food!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Monet, this cheesy creamy custard tasted surprisingly delicious - I was not too sure at first but using good ingedients is always a good start and it turned quite nice.

      Delete
  15. I'm starting to think I did something wrong - your creme brulee came out beautifully! The palmiers look excellent too, and I love your napkins - they are so perfect for this time of year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so very much for the lovely comment, Jora - it is always nice to brighten everyone´s day a bit with nice decorations and crunchy palmiers.

      Delete
  16. Cheesy Crème Brûlée sounds so classy yet it has a casual look! How lovely. I love how you always present food. It's so cozy and welcome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nami, thank you so much - now I feel like I should be having you over for dinner and serve you some cheesey crème brûlée as an appetizer - I am sure that if you are a cheese lover you would enjoy eating this.

      Delete
  17. Your presentation is just lovely! I have quite a few recipes to catch up with FFwD...this looks like one that we will enjoy. What a great idea to make palmiers with the leftover cheese, Andrea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elaine, you know how we all dislike to have those left-overs in the fridge - cheese no exception, but I bought more cheese than I needed from the outset because I knew that I wanted to make these Palmiers before I even got started on making the Cheesy Crème Brulée.

      Delete