Simple custard is a perfect way to experiment with flavor. In the restaurant we have served several versions of this dessert, including chocolate orange and vanilla bean, but our lavender crème brûleé brings our guests back. As you crack through the thin layer of sugar and take your first taste, you will be delighted by the unexpectedly perfumed flavor and velvety texture of this custard.
2Place the cream and milk in a saucepan and add the lavender. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Let the lavender stems steep for about 15 minutes or until the milk has a lavender flavor. (For a stronger flavor, allow to steep longer.) Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks, the 1/2 cup sugar, and the honey until smooth. Whisk into the lavender-cream mixture. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and skim off any foam. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
3Pour the mixture into 6 ramekins or crème brûleé dishes. Set the ramekins in a baking dish and add enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the baking dish with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until set. (Test for doneness by jiggling the ramekins.) Remove the baking dish from the oven and allow the ramekins to cool in the water bath for 5 minutes. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
4Before serving, sprinkle the tops with a thin layer of sugar and caramelize with a small torch or under a broiler set on high. Garnish each crème brûleé with lavender blossoms.
Beverage pairing: Late-harvest Viognier.
This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.