Tag Archives: grand marnier

Sour Cherry with Grand Marnier Creme Brulee

I recall having a traditional creme brûlée years ago and not liking it. I don’t remember where, just that this raved upon dessert tasted a bit like an eggy mess.  It turned me off completely.  Then, one Valentine’s Day, six years ago my dear sweet friend and old neighbor Allison brought Valentine desserts over to Ben and me.  Allison has this knack of having mismatched, yet whimsical, plates, bowls & cups and other trinkets in her home.  She converted me to forgoing paper napkins, due to her assortment of linen napkins I would find her using with her lunch, or serving me with a cookie on it.

There she was with two little black foiled containers filled with creme brulee sitting on one eclectic small plate; along with a cut out paper heart placed on those white paper doilies.  Allison and I shared the love of eating fine food and here she was sharing this delectable creamy treat with us. As she stood there describing her love of these specific creme brulees (from a local bakery), I stood there smiling with a very thankful heart.  What I didn’t tell her was what I was thinking, which was, “Oh, how incredibly thoughtful, but I don’t like creme brulee.  I won’t let Allison know.”  I placed the plate on the table and gave Allison a big thankful hug and said goodbye.

After I shut the door I said, “Ben, Allison brought over some dessert for us for Valentine’s Day,” to which he replied, “that’s nice.”  “Yes, it was, but do you know what she brought? (because Ben knew I wasn’t fond of creme brulee),” I said, “Creme Brulee!”  I recall Ben laughing at my predicament and then asked, “well, are you going to try it?”  Like any good foodie, regardless if past experience went awry, I responded with an astounding “Yes!”

I got two spoons and dipped my spoon to remove just a little bit.  And what I tasted was nothing like scrambled eggs mixed in cream.  It was simply heavenly.  All Ben heard was, “MMM, OHH!  Ben! (another bite) This is amazing!  You have to try this! (another bite) I could eat yours if you want!”  I was transformed.  So when my dear friend Talia was coming over for a little birthday celebration, I knew I needed to make her creme brulee.  Except, I wanted to put a spin on it by adding the sour cherry with Grand Marnier filling on the bottom.  I recommend ensuring that the creme is very cold while the brulee is warm when you serve–it’s the best way to eat it in my opinion (plus, did you know sweet is more pronounced when it is warmed up, so the cold creme doesn’t allow the sugar to become overbearing).  You’ll be sure to win over even the biggest anti-creme brulee person with this dessert.

A Year Ago: Spicy Caramel Popcorn

Sour Cherry Creme Brulee with Grand Marnier (printable recipe)

Keep the egg whites to use for another recipe. And if you stay tuned, I’ll share a Coconut Lime Macaroon recipe to utilize them.  If you don’t have a blow torch, then put your cooked & chilled creme brulee ramekins in 9×13 pan (or roasting pan) and fill it with ice, in order to keep the custards VERY cold.  Turn your broiler on and put your ramekins (with the sugar on top) sitting in the ice bath directly under the broiler for only 30 seconds.  Check the sugar (brulee) to ensure it doesn’t get too burnt.  If you need it to cook a bit more, then put it back in for another 15 seconds and continue until it reaches your desired burnt sugar liking.

Sour Cherry Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh/frozen sour cherries ( I used frozen sour cherries that were fresh in the summer)
  • 1-2 Tb raw honey
  • 1 Tb arrowroot powder
  • 2-4 Tb Grand Marnier

Creme Brulee Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup evaporated cane juice sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
  • 1 tsp Grand Marnier (optional)
  • 6 egg yolks, large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar for brulee part

Sour Cherry Filling:

Put all of the cherries, along with the juices into a heavy-bottomed saucepan (ensure there are no seeds in the cherries). Turn the heat to medium. If your cherries are frozen, wait before adding any of the other ingredients until the cherries are completely thawed. If your cherries are thawed or fresh, add 1 Tb of honey and allow to bubble, stirring occasionally. Keep it in this stage for about 10 minutes. You are working towards a nice filling consistency.

Sprinkle the arrowroot over the cherries and mix thoroughly. If the mixture is bubbling rapidly, turn the heat down, in order to avoid burning. You want it to simmer/bubble. The filling should start to set as you stir occasionally. Taste throughout to see where the filling sweetness is at. If you feel that the filling needs another tablespoon of honey, add it now. Once the filling has thickened (dip a metal spoon in the filling and it should coat it), add two tablespoon of Grand Marnier (I used 2 Tb). Adding more than two tablespoons will make the filling taste more boozy; however, once the filling is added to the ramekins and cooked with the creme, the Grand Marnier burns off a bit with just two tablespoons. Cook on stove top for an additional minute, then remove from heat to cool.

Creme Brulee Ingredients:

Combine the milk, cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until it reaches the boiling point. Set aside to steep until it cools down.

Preheat oven to 300 F, and adjust a rack slightly lower than center.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks & optional 1 tsp of Grand Marnier briefly. Add the cream mixture very slowly into the yolks, whisking well with each addition. Once blended, strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Put cherry filling into 8 or 9 (4-ounce) shallow ramekins (about 2 inches high) to cover bottom (about 2 tsp), then pour the custard mixture on top of the cherry filling, and bake them in a water bath for 35 to 45 minutes, until centers are softly set. “Remove from oven and cool in water bath until comfortable to handle. Cover the dishes and refrigerate for 2 hours. These can be stored for 1 or 2 days before serving.

To serve, sprinkle each top with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of brulee sugar and torch to caramelize. For thicker caramelized crunch, use more sugar.


Strawberry Jam without Pectin

I think a great gift to people is giving them canned goods. Granted I have only canned jams, but people love the specialness (my own word copyright) of it. There is also something so rewarding about making your own jam instead of buying it at the store. It’s a bit of a novelty because this was common stuff back in the day when a homecook couldn’t imagine going to the store to buy their canned goods–they would make it right at home. And I guess that’s what I like about it, being a part of something that were common occurrences around the home.
Now, I know it’s not all romantic and such, because that whole boiling water, sterilizing the jars, wiping off the jam, etc., isn’t the most enjoyable way to spend your time while your two girls nap. However, once you hear the popping of the lids, the jam setting, the first jar being opened to taste the results and a qualified, “MMMM” from your 2 1/2 year old, it makes it all worth it.

Strawberry Jam


Strawberry Jam (printable recipe)

This is a recipe from Barefoot Contessa. I have added my notes below in italics.

What you need:

3 pints strawberries
3 cups superfine sugar
2 Tablespoons Orange liquor (Grand Marnier)
1/2 cup peeled, cored & chopped Granny Smith apple
1/2 cup rinsed blueberries

Wash & rinse your strawberries. Hull them, cutting the large ones in
quarters, medium ones in half & small ones leave them alone.

In a heavy bottom pot mix strawberries with sugar & liquor. Set over
medium heat, stirring constantly. When it starts to boil, add apples
& blueberries. Maintain a rolling boil and stir occassionally,
skimming the foam off the top. Put in a candy thermometer in and wait
till it reached 220 degrees (25-35 minutes).

Once temperature is reached, cool to room temperature and put in jars
to put in fridge. Will keep for two weeks. If you want to have jam
keep longer than follow canning guidelines (you can look online or if
you have The Joy of Cooking). It produced about 3 3/4 half pint jars
of jam for me.

My notes:
1. You can pulse regular sugar in a food processor to make superfine
sugar, if you can’t find it at the store. I put the sugar in and
pressed on for about 45-60 seconds.
2. Grand Marnier is expensive, so you could do one of three things in
my opinion. Buy the little container (the ones they sell on planes),
omit it altogether as it adds a depth to the jam but not necessary, or
put in orange zest or orange extract.
3. I seemed to have stirred & waited for it to reach 220, but it
didn’t. I gauged it more on what it looked like. You could put a cold
plate in the freezer and drop a bit on the plate, then run a spoon or
knife through the mixture. If it parts (think Red Sea) than take it
off the heat. Remember that you’re basically working in the candy
arena & it could go from soft ball stage to hard ball stage pretty
quickly.