This whiskey-spiked dessert is part of the "Orange Crush" story I did for Better Homes & Gardens. It is unlike any crème brûlée you've ever tasted before. With a caramel base, a cream filling studded with kumquats and oranges, plus a crunchy, sweet topping, it's decadent with a capital "D".
- 1½ cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 mandarin oranges or desired oranges
- 4-5 kumquats
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 1½ cups milk
- 2 tablespoons whiskey
- 6 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons granulated or Demerara sugar
- Center rack in oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Place a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate (use a ceramic one if you will broil topping in Step 7) in a large roasting pan; set aside.
- For caramel: In a small saucepan combine 3/4 cup sugar and the cold water over medium-low heat. Heat 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly. Increase heat; bring to boiling. Cook without stirring 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat; cool 2 minutes. Pour into pie plate; set aside.
- Meanwhile, zest one mandarin; set zest aside. (Reserve mandarin for another use.) Slice remaining mandarin and all kumquats to 1/8 inch thick; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan combine cream, milk, whiskey, and zest over medium heat. Heat 8 to 10 minutes or until bubbles form at sides of saucepan, stirring occasionally; remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl whisk eggs and 3/4 cup sugar until pale and creamy, about 30 seconds. Whisk half the cream mixture into egg mixture. Slowly pour egg mixture into remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in vanilla. Slowly pour into pie plate.
- Pour boiling water into roasting pan around pie plate to a depth of 1 inch. Bake about 60 minutes or until set, topping with reserved citrus slices the last 20 minutes of baking. Let cool on a wire rack 30 minutes. Cover; chill at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Sprinkle top with 3 Tbsp. sugar. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize sugar by evenly moving the tip of the flame across the top. It will crisp as it cools. Or broil 5 inches from the heat, rotating pan until sugar is evenly caramelized.
After chilling, sprinkle top of custard with 2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar. Use a culinary torch to melt and caramelize the sugar.