Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hawaiian Style Pina Colada Creme Brulee

Ahh.  Wondrous vacation.  

sunset at our Hawaiian paradise

Makes a girl go from looking like this

Self portrait after a horrible night shift
to this.

It’s hard to come back from a romantic belated honeymoon with time in the sun, a cool Hawaiian breeze, tropical fruit, and lots of pleasure reading to 100-degree heat and C-sections. 


I love scientific research that is so obvious.  For example, a 2009 meta-analysis in the Journal of Occupational Health states that vacation has a positive effect on health.  People have actually spent money researching the fact that sitting on a sailboat drinking lemonade is more healthy than working a 12 hour shift overnight without sitting or eating taking care of 15 patients. Yeah, I know.   

Sadly, the same study suggests that coming back to work erodes away all positive effects of vacation between two and four weeks.  However, I have to disagree.  Having gone a six-month stretch between vacations this year with only one weekend off between, I think a vacation got me through about three months of that.  Then it was pure pain.

With this recipe, we can all go on a tropical vacation together.  I love pina coladas with their 1200 calories of rummy goodness.  I begged my husband to buy me ONE at the pool bar because it was 12 bucks.  (It wasn’t even that good.)  Now home, attempting to maintain my island spirit, I decided to make my own version of a pina colada in the form of a creamy crème brulee. This recipe has all the tropical hints of a pineapple and coconut without being overly sweet or cloying--just the elegance of fresh fruit and a tiny splash of rum wrapped in a ceramic package of a delicious custard and a crispy sugar shell.

Pina colada crème brulee

2 cups coconut milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp rum
2 tsp vanilla
5 large egg yolks, 2 large eggs
¼ cup brown sugar

Thin pineapple slices

granulated sugar to top

blowtorch! Or oven broiler

6 6 oz ramekins

Pre-heat oven to 350.  In heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, whisk together coconut milk, cream, rum, vanilla and brown sugar.  Heat, stirring constantly until almost simmering.  In separate bowl, whisk eggs together.  Temper eggs by slowly adding 1/3 of the warm cream mixture to the egg mixture and then add the tempered eggs back into the saucepan with the rest of the cream mixture.  Continue to heat over medium heat, stirring continuously until mixture begins to slightly thicken, about 2 minutes.  Do not allow to curdle.  Strain custard with a fine mesh strainer.  Divide mixture between ramekins.  Place ramekins in large roasting pan.  Place pan with ramekins in preheated oven and fill pan with boiling water ¾ of the way up the ramekins to make a water bath.  Bake for 15 minutes and as custards begin to set, carefully place pineapple slices on top.   Bake for another 15 minutes until the custards are set.  Remove from heat, allow to cool and refrigerate overnight. 

The next day, add 1-2 tsp granulated sugar to the top of each ramekin.  With a blowtorch or carefully with the broiler, caramelize the sugar until it is golden brown. 

De Bloom J, Kompier M, et al.  Do we recover from vacation?  Meta-analysis of vacation effects on health and well-being.  J Occup Health. 2009;51(1):13-25. Epub 2008 Dec 19.

1 comment:

  1. this looks so awesome, didn't need you could do it without a torch. want to collaborate sometime? like you make something and talk about the chemistry of it and then i talk about the (english) history of it. i want to learn more about how chemistry affects flavor, if you know anything about that...