We love this recipe because of its “wow” factor and lasting impression. It makes for a sweet ending to any great meal.
Recipe and styling by Wayne Burgin
Photograph by Annalize Nel
Salted caramel crème brûlée jam jars
SALTED CARAMEL (Makes 500ml)
- 440g sugar
- 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature and cubed
- 250ml (1 cup) thick/double thick cream, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp fleur de sel/sea salt
- ½ vanilla pod
- 600g thick/double thick cream
- 9 egg yolks
- 90g sugar + extra, to dust
- pinch salt
- icing sugar, to dust
- caramel-coated popcorn, to garnish
- store-bought fudge, to garnish
- caramel shards, to garnish (optional)
For the salted caramel, melt the 440g sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Once all of the sugar has melted, watch your caramel like a hawk, swirling the pan occasionally. As soon as the sugar turns amber in colour, add the butter and whisk it vigorously. It will bubble up aggressively, but just keep whisking until all of the butter has melted.
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the 250ml (1 cup) thick/double thick cream, while whisking briskly. The caramel is going to bubble up again, so be careful. Whisk until all of the cream is incorporated and whisk in the fleur de sel or sea salt. Set the sauce aside to cool down, 15 minutes prior to pouring it into a sterilised glass jar to cool completely.
For the crème brûlée, start by slicing your vanilla pod down the centre and run a small knife along the inside to scrape out all of the seeds. Reserve the seeds and chop the pod into small pieces. Chopping the pod is optional, but we want to expose as much surface area to the cream as we can, since it will only be resting in the cream for a few minutes. Heat the 600g thick/double thick cream and vanilla seeds and pod pieces in a pot over medium heat. Stir it often, so as to not scorch the base.
While the cream is heating up, whisk together the egg yolks, 90g sugar and pinch salt until fully combined. You don’t want to do this step too far in advance.
Once the cream has warmed through, slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. If you were to pour it straight in, you would cook the egg yolks. The trick here is not to have clumps of cooked egg. This method is known as tempering.
Once you’ve incorporated all of the cream into the egg mixture, pour it through a fine mesh sieve to catch the vanilla pod pieces and any other lumps that may have formed. Allow to rest, 30 minutes, to allow the foam to settle down on the surface and to cool.
Pour a spoonful of your salted caramel into each of the bases of 5 sterilised jam jars. Create the next layer with the cooled crème brûlée. Fill each jar to its neck with the cream and egg yolk mixture. Once ready to bake, preheat the oven to 150˚C. Place the filled jam jars in a deep baking tray. Pour hot water into the tray around them, coming halfway up the sides of the jars to form a bain-marie. Bake in the preheated oven, 40 – 45 minutes or until the centres are set, but still a bit wobbly.
Allow to cool, covered, in the fridge, at least 2 hours or overnight. The crème brûlée will last in the fridge for up to a week in a sealed container. Once cooled, pour the warm salted caramel on top and return to the fridge.
When serving, add a little sugar to the top of the salted caramel, rotating the jar to cover the entire surface. The amount you use is based on personal preference. Lightly scorch the top of each jar with a kitchen blowtorch, moving it around, so the sugar caramelises evenly. Top the jars with popcorn, fudge and caramel shards, if desired.