My preference is for pie in the morning. A deep dish loaded with seasonal fruit lightly sweetened with sugar wrapped in a buttery crust – a perfectly balanced meal I’d say.
I often wake up with the first thought of the morning leaning towards pastries. At home scones are practically a sixth member of the family. Softly sweet, tender and flaky. Warm with a bit of jam running down it’s sugary top.
If I’m not quite awake and ready to cut in cold butter with flour than I simply walk around the corner to our neighborhood bakery and choose from an assortment of fresh baked goods.
With the lines happily blurred between breakfast and dessert in my mind it’s no wonder why I was so drawn to this breakfasty version of Creme Brulee.
Tangy and thick Greek yogurt is given the brulee treatment with a light dusting of sugar.
Let’s start from the beginning. The idea came from Nigel Slater, as many of my latest inspirations have. His book, Real Fast Food, is one of few books that I cook from again and again. Many pages are stuck together, glued shut from random cooking splatterings. Many pages are marked with recipes and ideas to try and I’ve had the book for not quite three weeks. In this small photo-less book there are over 350 recipes – all of them simple, using few ingredients with most of which you probably have on hand. Some are mere guidelines as is the case of the one we are discussing currently.
Nigel says to use a small ramekin or a shallow dish that may be the perfect home for a quiche on another morning. In the bottom of your dish place a handful of berries. I happened to have raspberries, Nigel had blackberries. In an act of defiance I covered my berries with a few passes of honey. On top of the berries there is yogurt. Level the top with a fine coat of sugar. Torch or broil to get a caramel, crisp cap. From my formal brulee training we would coat the custard with three fine layers of sugar torching in between each passing. The result was a deeply caramelized, sturdy and dense sweet layer that shattered with a mighty plunge of the spoon. So that’s what I did.
If you are using the broiler, stick the dish of sugared yogurt directly under the preheated broiler for about 2-3 minutes, or until the sugar caramelizes into a golden crust.
Top your breakfast brulee with more fresh berries. Now, of course this could also double as an elegant dessert. Simple, subtly sweet yet fancy and sophisticated as things are when they have a French name associated with them.
*For those who have asked (Hi, Crystal!) This is the torch I use.