“Peanut Butter and Jelly” Crème Brûlée

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One of my favorite ways of finding inspiration for new recipes is taking classic, well-known foods and turning them into something unexpected. There are so many wonderful flavors out there, and even though the culinary world is growing faster than you can imagine, sometimes tried and true recipes are even better than the most elaborate or creative ones. And what’s simpler than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Still to this day, I have a soft spot for a good old PB&J. And because one of my wife’s favorite desserts is crème brûlée, I just had to play around with these two culinary classics.

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“Peanut Butter and Jelly” Crème Brûlée

Yields 5

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. basic, creamy peanut butter, not old-fashioned or freshly ground (the oils will prevent the custard from setting properly)
  • ½ cup sugar, plus more for topping
  • 3 egg yolks
  • seedless red grapes
  • ¼ tsp. oil (avocado, coconut, canola, or vegetable)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix the egg yolks, sugar, and peanut butter together in small bowl. In saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the cream until frothy (but don’t let it boil).

At this point, you want to mix all the ingredients together — HOWEVER, pouring the hot cream over raw eggs could cause the eggs to curdle. Therefore, you’ll need to mix them together at a slow pace, “tempering” the eggs so that they don’t clump. Pour the cream, 1 tbsp at a time, into the bowl with the eggs, sugar, and peanut butter, stirring to incorporate after each addition of cream. Once you’ve stirred in about ¼ of the cream, add this peanut butter-cream mix back into the saucepan of warm cream and stir over low heat until the mixture thickens.

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Pour the mixture into small ramekins. Place the dishes in a large cake pan and pour water into the pan until it reaches halfway up the filled ramekins. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the crème brûlée is set. While they are baking, toss a small bunch of grapes in the oil and place in a toaster oven for 10-15 minutes, or until they are soft. When the grapes are roasted, take them out of the oven and lightly sprinkle them with sugar. Cool the crème brûlées for 1 hour before serving.

img_4424Once the crème brûlées are set and the grapes are roasted, lightly sprinkle the tops of the crème brûlée with sugar and torch until golden brown. (Small hand torches specifically for crème brûlée can be found at kitchen supply stores or online!) If you don’t have a crème brûlée torch, it’s also possible to use a toaster oven for this process. Turn the toaster oven on broil for 5 minutes, and pop the ramekins in for 1-2 minutes until the sugar caramelizes.

Serve with roasted grapes. You can also serve them with my Mulled Wine Biscotti!

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