Cookbook author Leticia Schwartz updates the classic French crème brûlée recipe with something a little greener: ever had avocado in your dessert? Can you think of a better way to get started? By the way, you'll need a torch. In restaurant supply stores, ask for a brulée torch; in a hardware store, a mini-torch.
Most Americans think of only guacamole, salads and maybe the adventurous hamburger when it comes to avocado. I really love to use avocados in desserts, the way we do in Brazil. The buttery texture of avocado lends a perfect creaminess to this reinvented crème brûlée, which unlike the classic recipe, is not baked at all. This mixture of avocado and condensed milk is simply puréed in a food processor.
After you have simulated the consistency of a custard, you add a crunchy layer of burnt sugar on top immediately before serving. The result is a truly inspired dessert that takes less than five minutes to make plus a little chilling time. Because of its richness, this dessert can also act as a mini crème brûlée: Simply serve it in smaller ramekins. This will yield more servings, of course, depending on how small a ramekin you use.
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 medium-firm ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sugar, for topping
- Place the condensed milk and avocados into a food processor and process until the mixture is velvety smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse for a few more seconds after each addition.
- At this point, taste the avocado cream to check if the lemon juice is giving the right balance. I usually use 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and add a drop or two more, if necessary.
- Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into four ramekins, making sure it is nice and flat inside the ramekin. Chill for 4 hours in the refrigerator.
- Right before serving, spread a thin layer of sugar evenly over the top of each custard.
- Ignite the torch to medium. Melt the sugar by moving the flame back and forth across the custard while maintaining a distance of 2 inches between the flame and the surface. The sugar will melt, bubble, then turn into a golden caramel. In less than a minute, it will harden to a delicious crust. Allow to cool for 3 to 5 minutes before serving. Do not brûlée the dessert more than 20 minutes in advance of serving.
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