salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Salted Caramel and Earl Grey Creme Brûlée… Things

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salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

I know I’ve been doing a lot of salted caramel things lately.

I’m addicted. #sorry #notsorry

You’re here for it though, so I guess you like it too! Yay!

I can’t remember what sparked me to make this… but here it is, existing and prospering like a puff pastry should.  It starts with good store bought puff pastry (please feel free to make your own, I’m not that cool yet). I recommend trying to find “all-butter” puff pastry (Trader Joes has a good version), vs. the other stuff that’s mostly hydrogenated soybean oils and such. All-butter is always all-better.

Next, the pastry cream. It’s basically fancy homemade pudding that’s pretty easy to make from scratch, just read the technique in the directions to become familiar with the steps, there are a couple of steps where you have to work quickly. However…I would not be mad at you (okay, a little mad on some “c’mon just try ittttt, it’s easy!” but not like “ugh I hate bell peppers!” mad) if you wanted to take a shortcut and use Jell-O Instant Vanilla pudding out of the box. Read the package instructions for “pie filling” (not pudding – filling usually requires less milk), but before following the package instructions, steep the Earl Gray tea in warm milk for one hour, then continue with the rest of the package instructions for pie filling.

It’s better homemade though… just saying.

Finally, the salted caramel sauce. This recipe makes WAY MORE than the required amount for the pastries. And you are SO welcome. *curtsies* Keep it in a jar and spread it all over your life.

I knooooooow it looks like a lot of steps and super complicated but really, it’s just a bunch of small easy steps. The complication is minimal if you just take it one little step at a time. Just make sure you have everything in place before you start so you’re not scrambling around the kitchen looking for the heavy cream or a jar to pour the caramel in. Make the pastry cream first since that needs time to chill, then the salted caramel. The pastry cream can even be made a couple of days ahead of time, as well as the caramel, if you’d like to space out the recipe over a couple days.

Let’s start with the pastry cream.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

You’ll need milk, sugar, cornstarch, sea salt, egg,s heavy cream, butter, Earl Grey tea and vanilla paste or extract. (Ignore the corn syrup that’s in the back photobombing).

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Warm the milk and steep the Earl Grey tea for one hour.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

After the milk has been Earl Grey’d (yes, I made that a verb), add in 1/4 cup of sugar, vanilla paste and sea salt. Bring to a simmer.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and cornstarch.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Now we’re going to temper the eggs – that basically means gradually add in hot liquid to the cold yolks. “Gradually” being the operative word – do it to fast and you’ll have Earl Grey flavored scrambled eggs. Womp.
Add in 1/2 cup of the warm milk at a time, whisking constantly, until all the milk has been incorporated.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Return the tempered eggs to the saucepan and heat over medium, stirring constantly, until it thickens – about 2 minutes.
Now, if you pulled a Holly and had the heat up a little too high and didn’t stir as much as you should have,  you might end up with a scary lumpy mess. It’s okay. The hand blender will whip that pastry cream right into shape! Add in the butter and beat until the butter has melted and the mixture cools down – about five minutes.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Chill the pastry cream (covered with plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming) for at least two hours. After it’s chilled it’s super thick and not very spreadable (top image) – just give it a good whisk and it’ll be light and creamy again. Yay! You don’t have to re-whip until ready to fill the puff pastry so just let it chill in the meantime.

Now, the salted caramel sauce. \o/

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

You’ll need sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, sea salt, vanilla paste or extract and butter.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Warm the heavy cream and butter in a microwavable safe bowl until the butter is mostly melted – about 45 seconds. Add in the vanilla paste and set aside.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat until it becomes an amber color. Gently swirl around the pan to prevent any hot spots where the sugar could burn. Don’t stir with a spoon – it can cause the sugar to crystallize. Just swirl it around gently until the bubbles get small and the color is amber-ish. Don’t try to multitask, either – watch this like a hawk.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Once the amber color has been reached, whisk in the warm cream mixture. Be careful, this will give off a lot of steam and bubble up quite a bit.
Whisk in the sea salt.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Place in a heat proof container – preferably a jar with a lid. Leave uncovered until completely cool.
Get your finger out of there.

Let’s get into that puff pastry now.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

I used Trader Joe’s Frozen Puff Pastry, which comes in 10″ squares. Whatever size your puff pastry, cut into 9 squares.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Using a cookie cutter (2″ cutter for 3″ squares, large cutter if your squares are larger), make an indentation into each square, taking care not to push all the way through.
This will act as a guide to punch a hole into the pastry when we fill it with nommyness later.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Bake at 375F for 12-15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
You like my pastry blueprints lurking in the back? lol

Assembly time!

 

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Using a spoon and the circle indentation as your guide, gently push in the puff pastry to create a pocket.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Fill with 1/2 tablespoon of salted caramel sauce. Swirl the pastry around to make sure the bottom is evenly coated.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Top the salted caramel with a good tablespoonful of the Earl Grey pastry cream.

https://fmitk-cdn-fmitk.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/earlgreysaltedcaramelpuff18.jpg

Fire time! Use a course sugar like Turbinado – or just go to your favorite Seattle-based coffee shop and grab a few packets of Sugar in the Raw. heehee

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

This is the funnest part evoooor.
Add about a teaspoon of sugar to the top of the pastry cream. With the flame on low, brûlée the top until the sugar has melted and caramelized. It happens pretty quickly. Take care not to burn the pastry itself.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

boop!

 

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

My assembly line of pastry.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

Shameless possibly future FMITK product plug.

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

can i eat one now -__-

 

salted caramel earl grey creme brulee puff

yap.

Salted Caramel Earl Grey Creme Brûlée… Things.

makes 18 pastries in about 2.5 hours (including chill time for pastry cream)

Ingredients

for the earl gray pastry cream
2 cups whole milk
2 bags Earl Grey Tea (or ~2 tbsp of loose Earl Grey Tea)
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed into small pieces

for the salted caramel sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1 cup of sugar
2 tbsp corn syrup
2 tbsp water
1 tsp flaky sea salt

1 package puff pastry, preferably all-butter
coarse sugar (like turbinado, a.k.a. Sugar in the Raw)

Directions

for pastry cream
In a medium sauce pan, heat milk over medium heat until it begins to steam. Don’t let it boil. Add in tea bags and remove from heat. Let steep for one hour.

Add 1/4 cup of sugar, vanilla paste and salt to the milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, corn starch and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. While whisking constantly, add in the warm milk mixture, 1/2 a cup at a time, until fully incorporated into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the sauce pan and place over medium high heat. Whisk constantly as the mixture thickens – about two minutes.  At this point the mixture may look a little lumpy and ruined, it’s okay – we’re going to beat it into submission.

Transfer the mixture to medium bowl and add in cubed butter.  Using a hand mixer (or a whisk and the best elbow grease ever), beat in the butter until full incorporated and the mixture cools down – about five minutes.

Cover with plastic wrap, being sure that the plastic wrap is directly on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for at least two hours. This will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days. Right before you’re ready to use the pastry cream, whip it with a hand mixer or a whisk.


for the salted caramel sauce

In a microwavable safe bowl, combine cream and butter and warm until butter is just melted – about 45 seconds. Stir in vanilla paste or extract and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Heat over medium-high, swirling the pan around occasionally to prevent any hot spots from occurring. Don’t stir with a spoon – this can potentially create some crystallized sugar and mess your whole game up. Just swirl the pan around gently.

Boil the sugar mixture until it becomes an amber color – you’ll see the bubbles get smaller the closer it gets to amber. This happens quickly, so keep an eye on it.  Once amber color has been reached, turn the heat to low and whisk in the warm cream and butter. Whisk constantly to prevent crystallization and lumps.  Whisk in sea salt.

Place in a heat-proof jar (glass with a lid, preferably) and let cool completely before placing a lid on top.

Don’t eat it all. Yet.


for the puff pastry

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Cut puff pastry into 9 squares – my pastry was 10″x10″, which resulted in ~3″ squares. Spread the squares of puff pastry on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, leaving about 1″ in between each. Depending on the size of your squares, use a 2″ –  3″  round cookie cutter to indent a circle into each square (there should be a 1/4-1/2″ border around the circle, these will be the “edges” of the pastry.  Bake until golden brown, about 12 – 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.


put it all together, nah

Using a spoon, gently push in the center of the puff pastry, using the indentations made with the cookie cutter as your guide.

In each little pastry puff indentation, add about 1/2 tablespoon of the salted caramel and spread evenly across the bottom (use more caramel if your pastry squares were larger than 3″). Top with 1 tablespoon of the Earl Grey pastry cream.  Sprinkle the top with the turbinado sugar, then (YEEE!! the fun part) brûlée the top of the sugar (taking care to keep the flame on low as to not burn the pastry) until browned. The sugar will get crunchy as it cools.

Now demolish them all.

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