Creme Brulee- need flavor options. Never made before, need suggestions!
SO I have to bring dessert for a Valentine dinner party of 8, 2 of the people don't like chocolate so there goes my tried and true flour less chocolate cake with raspberry sauce, I think I've decided on creme brulee. What are my options for adding flavors? I probably don't want anything to gourmet (like saffron, chili, quince flavored)? but something to give it a MMMMmmm factor. Also, I have never made this before, can you make one large dish instead of little ramekins?
Thanks for your suggestions
Sadly, the best part of Creme Brulee is that exciting crack as you tap open your own serving. Having a group dish gives only the host/hostess that trill as they start to serve it.
To me, the only and best flavor is a great vanilla bean.
As it bakes best in a water bath, you are better off using ramekins. Much easier to fit into a larger pan. :)
You could make crème brûlée in a large dish, but as others have noted, you then deprive your diners of the treat of cracking into the caramel. You could, however, mitigate this loss by making a large dish of crème caramel instead, which has a soft caramel and a firmer texture that is well suited to serving multiple guests.
In either case, I think the rich custard benefits from a sharp contrasting note such as lemon zest or ginger. Cinnamon and orange zest are also common additions to custard.
If you do decide to make creme brulee, one flavor that has always gone over well when I've done it is cranberry. You use whole cranberries (spiced as you wish) with some sugar cooked down so they pop and it is quite thick. And then put that (once it cools) into the bottom of the ramekin. Pour the custard over top and proceed as you would. You could probably also try it using the whole-berry canned type cranberry sauce too - just add spices and cook it down so it's thicker.
It might be nice for valentine's day given the rich red color of it and the contrast with the vanilla bean custard. It is also a nice tart contrast to the richness of the vanilla custard.
Good luck whatever you decide to do.