Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 16th November 2012
Throughout the holiday season I always have a bowl of clementines on my kitchen island, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without them. And it’s also the only citrus fruit my children both enjoy, hallelujah! Having said this, I’ve never thought to use them in a dessert until now. What I found most delightful about this Clementine Crème Caramel dessert was that the caramel and clementines played really well together. And the clementine juice brought a remarkable freshness to the custard.
I wanted to continue to celebrate the wonderful flavour of clementines so I decided to top the Crème Caramel with clementine slices, which I poached in sweet vanilla bean syrup with a touch of cinnamon spice.
I don’t think it comes as any surprise that I’m a huge fan of custard; it’s one of my favourite go to desserts. Pair it with fruit like I have here with Crème Caramel and I need to stop myself from hiding in a corner and enjoying every last dessert to myself. Chilled custard, warm fruit with a touch of caramel, what more could you ask for?
I also really enjoy poached fruit especially served warm with vanilla ice cream or topped simply with sweetened whipped cream. It’s the perfect dessert to serve when entertaining because it’s so easy to prepare. If you’re looking for a simple dessert to serve after a savoury winter meal I recommend ending with poached clementines, oranges or tangerines, the refreshing citrus note with a hint of spice is sure to please.
Another option for poached fruit, serve on a bed of sponge with a sticky syrup or crema inglese (crème anglaise or pouring custard). And an accompaniment of poached clementines served with duck would be amazing! When you take a moment to think about it there are so many ways to enjoy and flavour poached fruit. Poaching is the perfect way to bring out the natural sweetness of fruit.
As soon as I spot clementines in the market it’s a gentle reminder that the Christmas season is on its way. I’ve promised myself that this year I would get into the stores much sooner than I have over the last few years. When the kids were younger I most always had all my shopping done by the first week in December to ensure I would be able to fulfill the kid’s wishes for the latest toy or game. Now that they’re older the urgency is no longer there and I find I procrastinate which only takes away all the joy of shopping.
And worse, I don’t have time to enjoy the best things of the season, taking the kids out for the day, sipping hot apple cider and hunting down the perfect Christmas tree or spending the day decorating cookies, making meat pies or decorating the house.I’ve realized over the last few years although the kids are older they count on the traditions, picking up a tree from the local tree store isn’t the same. And all the fun of decorating the tree is lost when you’re rushed it merely becomes a chore.
I think Matt’s (my son) asked me no less than three times in the last week if he should bring in the tree stand. I think it’s his way of telling me that he misses the joy of preparing for the season. Celebrating Liana’s 21st birthday brought me to the realization that time is slipping away, very quickly, and I may only have a few more years before they move away and start families of their own. I’m determined to bring back the true spirit of Christmas, spending quality time with my children, family and friends.
Taking a moment to notice all the stunning holiday window displays, stopping by to see Santa, making a big bowl of popcorn and settling in for the afternoon to watch Christmas movies, enjoying hot chocolate, listening to music and decorating the tree, stopping by a friend’s with freshly made cookies, enjoying a cup of coffee and slice of panettone with Mom, go ice skating in the park or be there for the lighting of the lights, attending Christmas Eve mass and most importantly, taking the time to give back!
How will you be celebrating the 2012 holiday season?
Clementine Crème Caramel with Vanilla Bean Poached Clementines
- Clementine Custard
- Vanilla Bean Poached Clementines
Makes 1200 ml (5 cups)
- 200 g (¾ cup + 2 tablespoons) caster (superfine) sugar, divided
- 370 ml (1½ cups + ¾ tablespoon) heavy (whipping) cream, 35%
- 370 ml (1½ cups + ¾ tablespoon) whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon clementine zest
- 5 large egg yolks
- 2 large whole eggs
- 120 ml (½ cup) clementine juice (4 to 5 clementines)
- 4 to 5 clementines
- Reserve one-half of the sugar. In a small saucepan, bring cream, milk, the remaining sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, cinnamon and zest just to a boil (small bubbles just beginning to form around the sides of the pan). Remove from heat, cover and let stand, 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using a large balloon whisk, whisk together the egg yolks, whole eggs and the reserved sugar until pale in colour.
- While whisking constantly, gradually add the cream mixture into the egg mixture.
- Add the clementine juice to the warm cream mixture, stirring to combine well.
- Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a pourable container and discard solids.
- Cover the container with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. Allow custard to chill, 2 hours. (Prepare caramel about 40 minutes prior to baking custards.)
- Preheat oven to 160° C (325° F). To prepare hot water bath, fill a teakettle with water, bring almost to the boil and remove from heat. Line deep roasting pan with folded tea towel (will prevent jars from moving around and will also ensure even cooking).
- Ensure caramel layer is firm. Arrange jars (or ramekins) in roasting tin, spacing 2.5 to 5-cm (1 to 2-inches) apart.
- Remove custard from refrigerator, skim off any foam with a spoon.
- Divide the clementine pieces equally between the jars.
- Divide custard equally between the jars (or ramekins). (Don’t be concerned if the clementine pieces rise to the top, this is normal.)
- Cover and seal each jar (or ramekin) with aluminum foil to prevent a skin from forming on the surface of the custard as it bakes.
- Pull out the middle oven rack slightly (just enough to be able to fill the roasting pan with water). Place the roasting tin on the rack. Carefully pour the hot water from the teakettle into the roasting pan filling about halfway up the sides of the jars. Very carefully push the roasting pan into the centre of the oven and then ever so carefully push the oven rack back into the oven.
- Bake until custard is set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the centre, about 40 minutes.
- Carefully remove roasting tin from oven and transfer to heatproof surface. Immediately remove jars (or ramekins) from hot water bath and transfer to wire rack. Let stand until custard is cooled completely. Transfer jars to the refrigerator and allow custard to chill, at least 4 hours.
- 337 g (1½ cups) caster (superfine) sugar
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) cold water
- To prepare ice water bath, half-fill a medium bowl with ice and cover the ice with cold water, set aside.
- Place 8 ovenproof jars (or ramekins) on a wooden board (or heatproof surface).
- Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Stop stirring and continue to cook syrup over medium heat, swirling the pan over the burner occasionally and washing down sides of the pan with pastry brush dipped in water, until the syrup reaches a golden liquid caramel.
- Remove from heat and immediately plunge the saucepan in the prepared ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
- Carefully divide the liquid caramel equally between the jars (or ramekins). Let stand and allow caramel to firm up.
Vanilla Bean Poached Clementines
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 or 8 clementines, peel removed
- In small saucepan, bring water, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and cinnamon stick to the boil over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, place each clementine on its side, and slice into rounds about 12-mm (½-inch) thick. Remove pits.
- Reduce heat to low. Add the sliced clementines. Let simmer until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, transfer clementine rounds to a shallow dish. Pour just enough poaching liquid over the rounds to cover (to keep the clementines moist until serving). Let stand until warm. If you prefer, transfer clementines in poaching liquid, covered with plastic wrap to the refrigerator. Chill, about 30 minutes.
- Pistaschios (or favourite nut), finely chopped
- Remove chilled desserts from the refrigerator.
- Top each dessert with clementine slices. Sprinkle with ch0pped nuts.
- Buon Appetito!
Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, baked desserts, baked pudding, citrus, citrus desserts, dessert, desserts, desserts for entertaining, entertaining, food, food photography, food photos, French desserts, fruit, individual dessert, individual desserts, Italian dessert, Italian desserts, pudding, quick desserts
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Dolci al Cucchiaio, Dolci alla Frutta, Eggs, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Spoon Desserts