Malt Crème Brûlée with Chocolate Shortbread

Malt Crème Brûlée

Ingredients

  • Heavy cream: 1 cup (240 ml)
  • Malted milk powder: 2 tablespoons
  • Vanilla bean: 1/2 (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
  • Egg yolks: 2 large
  • Granulated sugar: 3 tablespoons (plus extra for caramelizing)
  • Salt: A pinch

Equipment

  • 2 ramekins (6-ounce capacity each)
  • Baking dish or roasting pan
  • Small saucepan
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Fine-mesh strainer
  • Kitchen torch (or broiler for caramelizing sugar)

Preparation

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C).
  2. Prepare the Malted Cream:
    • Pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan and add the malted milk powder.
    • If using a vanilla bean, split it lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add both the seeds and the pod to the cream. If using vanilla extract, add it later with the egg yolks.
    • Heat the cream over medium heat until it just starts to simmer, then remove from heat. Let it sit for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors.
  3. Prepare the Custard:
    • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt until the mixture is pale and slightly thickened.
    • If you’re using vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean, add it to the egg yolk mixture now.
  4. Combine and Strain:
    • Slowly pour the warm cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously to avoid cooking the eggs.
    • Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into another bowl to remove any bits of cooked egg and the vanilla pod if used.
  5. Bake the Custards:
    • Place the ramekins in a baking dish or roasting pan.
    • Divide the custard mixture evenly between the ramekins.
    • Pour hot water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
    • Carefully place the baking dish in the preheated oven.
  6. Bake:
    • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the custards are set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center.
    • Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let them cool to room temperature.
    • Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  7. Caramelize the Sugar:
    • Just before serving, sprinkle an even layer of granulated sugar (about 1-2 teaspoons) on top of each custard.
    • Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar until it melts and turns a deep golden brown. If you don’t have a torch, you can place the ramekins under a broiler for a few minutes, watching closely to prevent burning.
  8. Serve:
    • Allow the caramelized sugar to harden for a minute or two before serving.

Chocolate Shortbread

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter: 1/2 cup (1 stick), softened
  • Granulated sugar: 1/4 cup
  • All-purpose flour: 1/2 cup
  • Cocoa powder: 1/4 cup
  • Cornstarch: 1 tablespoon
  • Salt: A pinch
  • Vanilla extract: 1/2 teaspoon

Preparation

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Prepare the Dough:
    • In a mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
    • Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
    • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt.
    • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined.
  3. Shape the Cookies:
    • Roll the dough into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
    • Once chilled, slice the log into 1/4-inch thick rounds and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake:
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are set.
    • Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serving

  • Serve each malt crème brûlée with a couple of chocolate shortbread cookies on the side for a delightful contrast of creamy, crunchy, and chocolatey textures.

Tips for Success

  • Malted Cream: Ensure the malted milk powder is fully dissolved in the cream to avoid lumps.
  • Shortbread: The dough should be firm but not hard when slicing. If too soft, refrigerate a bit longer.
  • Caramelizing: Use an even layer of sugar and a steady hand with the torch for a perfect caramel crust.
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