Malt Brulee

Malt Brulee or to give it its full title, Malt Flavoured Crème Brûlée is a new dessert that is now a regular fixture on my small “Sweet Things I like” menu.

I love a good crème brûlée, and trust me, I have tried many! It´s essentially a rich custard with a crunchy caramel lid or topping. I love the smooth silky texture of the set custard and the sweet bitterness of the caramel.

The name Crème Brûlée is 100% French (though that does not mean it was invented in France, if you believe everything that you read it can either be British or Spanish in origin! :shock: ), in Spanish it can be called “Crema Quemada”, both translate to “Burnt Cream”.

It is similar to its culinary cousin “Crema Catalana”, which is sometimes incorrectly referred to the Spanish version of crème brûlée, when in fact it is a different dessert, flavoured differently and cooked differently. The similarity lies in the texture of the custard and the burnt sugar topping, which is achieved by using a hot iron for the crema catalana and a grill or blowtorch in the case of the crème brûlée.

Commonly the dessert is flavoured with vanilla, however it can also be found on menus flavoured with coffee, chocolate, mango, orange, jasmine etc…

Why malt?

The reason I choose malt is because I was very impressed with a dessert that I had at the vegetarian restaurant Vanilla Black in London during a visit in November 2011. On their menu was an “Iced Malt and Burnt Orange Marshmallow with Muscovado Sugar Meringue and Parsnip Purée”. It was the “Iced Malt” that got my attention. It was lovely! :smile:

My brother King who used to work there managed to get hold of the recipe for me, one of the key ingredients was malt extract (obviously!).

Its not easy trying to track down some ingredients in the countryside of Spain, so after a while I gave up and filed the idea in my head.

Then on a recent trip to Belgium and after ordering a crème brûlée in every restaurant I ate in (yep! lunch and dinner!) and seeing and tasting the difference in textures and flavours between different restaurant versions, my mind was made up… I wanted to have a version on my menu, the way I like it, so I could share it with my clients.

I knew then that I wanted to make a malt crème brûlée.

With that idea in mind I visited a few health shops thinking that it would be easier to find malt extract in a large city. Boy was I wrong. :sad:

Then it hit me! Actually it hit me over a few beers :lol: . There is no doubt that the best beers in the world are from Belgium!! It was over a discussion about the many different beers (all 1100 of them!) and how I used to brew my own that I realised that I knew exactly where to get hold of malt extract. I had some at home. I always had!!!

Once back in Spain I set about trying to make my “Malt Brulee” (no need for accents in my version!). After a few trials and errors I finally came up with a recipe that I liked.

This is a seriously rich dessert, loads of sugar, egg yolks and cream! But hey!, Sometimes you should spoil yourself. I know I do! :biggrin:

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Malt Brulee

Ingredients:

  • 300g Dried Malt Extract
  • 125g Milk
  • 1 litre cream (at least 35% fat, in Spanish its called “Nata para Montar”)
  • 2tsp good quality Vanilla Extract (or use 1 Vanilla Bean if you can get it)
  • 150g Egg Yolks (from about 8 eggs)
  • 120g Granulated Sugar
  • Brown Sugar for topping

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Method:

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I use Extra Dark Spray Malt from my stout making days. This dark malt extract adds a nice caramel colour to the finished dessert, using a light spray malt will result in a lighter, golden coloured dessert which is equally nice.

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I use 8cm diameter small ramekin style bowls that hold about 50-60 grams, this recipe is enough for about 18 to 20 of these bowls. These are placed in a baking tray that will allow you to add hot water, otherwise known as a “bain marie”.

Set the oven to 120ºC. In a large pan bring to the boil about 4-5 litres of tap water.

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In a saucepan add the malt extract and the milk.

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Give it a good stir. Dried malt extract has a tendency to clump up when liquid is added to it, stirring it now will reduce the amount of clumps when the cream is added.

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Add the cream slowly, stirring constantly. Place the pan on a low flame and allow to come to a simmer, make sure you don´t let it boil. The low flame is necessary, you don’t want to scorch or burn the mixture. If you are using a vanilla bean you can split it in half, scrape out the seeds and place everything in the mixture now.

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Meanwhile whilst the pan is on the flame, mix the sugar with the egg yolks in a bowl.

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Whisk until the sugar and egg yolks are well combined and you have a nice light creamy emulsion.

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Once the malt, milk and cream mixture has reached a simmer, remove the pan from the heat (remove the vanilla bean if you have used it) and using a ladle slowly add a little of the liquid to the yolk and sugar mixture whilst stirring to temper them.

Gradually add more of the hot mixture, a ladle at a time. The reason we add the hot liquid bit by bit is because we don’t want to make malt flavoured scrambled eggs! :lol:

Once all the liquid has been mixed in, add the vanilla extract if you haven´t used the vanilla bean. Add one teaspoon first and taste it, perhaps 2 teaspoons is a bit sweet for you, but it works for me…

Give the mixture another quick stir.

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You should now have a foamy mixture. Scoop off the foam and discard, then pass the mixture through a chinois or other fine meshed sieve.

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Carefully fill the bowls to a depth of 2 cm.

Laocook-Malt-Brulee-11

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Pop any air bubbles that appear, using a blowtorch is the easiest way.

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Place the baking trays in to the oven and pour in the boiling water until it reaches about two-thirds up the sides of the bowls.

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Bake for 27 minutes at 120ºC.

The oven may have cooled down a little whilst the door was open when you were adding the water, therefore start the timing when it reaches 120ºC again.

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After 27 minutes, carefully remove the baking trays and allow the bowls to cool in the water.

At this stage they might not look done, if you tap the bowls the custard should wobble like a jelly, but they will continue to cook whilst in the hot water.

Once cooled, place in the fridge for a few hours, preferably over night.

Before serving, remove from the fridge and sprinkle over some brown sugar then give it a blast with the blowtorch.

For an extra crispy topping I do this twice.

Allow the malt brulee to rest for a minute so that the surface becomes hard, then grab a spoon and dig in! :biggrin:

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Creamy, silky, malty….

BTW. Happy New Year! :biggrin:

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6 thoughts on “Malt Brulee

  1. That looks great! I loved maltose syrup as a kid (keo mach nha in Vietnamese, maybe there’s something in Laotian cuisine too?) but never thought of using it as anything other than a syrup – to be drizzled on crackers and eaten with coconut shavings. 

  2. Hi Lihn,
    I have seen tubs of Maltose Syrup being sold in Laos, however I don´t know the translation of it.
    If you wanted to use the syrup in a Crème Brûlée recipe you would definately have to cut down on the sugar.
    BTW, I do like your site, the Som Moo looks very tempting.. :biggrin:

  3. Aw, thank you! We owe you a big debt for pointing us in the right direction w/ regards to making Som Moo from scratch. Do let us know if you’re ever in the US, California specifically. We’d love to share with you our lamb nem chua.

  4. Linh, if I ever find myself in CA I will definately find some to look you up and enjoy the Lamb, its something that I have never tried.
    Bryan, many thanks for your kind comment and also the mention on your site. :)
     
     
     

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