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Rhubarb-Maple Syrup Crème Brûlée

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I just love the presentation of individual-sized desserts. You can have so much fun with it. Like using pretty cocktail or wine glasses, as I did with White Chocolate and Passionfruit Mousse. I especially love it when desserts are baked in a variety of different vessels and presented as is. Like my Maple Syrup Cake baked in the maple syrup tin. Or baked goodies in glass jars! How clever is that? Your very own little jar of yumminess to hold in your hand, all to yourself. I think it’s genius that you can see through the various layers. It’s reminiscent of an old-fashioned dessert, some sweet comfort from the deep South. They are practical as heck to transport. They make the most adorable gifts. And they’re just plain ol’ cute!

I thought I’d try making Crème Brûlée in individual sized Mason jars. The wide-mouth jars, to make it easier to scoop your spoon in and out of. And not just any Crème Brûlée either. Quebec Rhubarb is making its appearance at the farmers’ markets, therefore combining it with maple syrup and adding it at the bottom of the jar would make for a pleasant and sweet-tart surprise, no? And infusing it all with a little fresh rosemary? Just picture it. The custard is lightly flavoured with maple syrup and there is just a hint of infused rosemary to it. And when you plunge your spoon all the way down to the bottom of the jar, you come up with that sublime custard and the tarty rhubarb-rosemary-maple syrup flavour combination. Definitely not for the Crème Brûlée purist. Like my brother! He had a taste and declared that when he wants to eat a Crème Brûlée, he doesn’t want anything else in it. He’ll take the classic and, according to him, only version of this sumptuous dessert. I, on the other hand, like to create and diversify. And I sure am glad I came across this recipe at edible Green Mountains. I just love it!

Give it a try and decide for yourself if you’re a Crème Brûlée purist, or if you enjoy a little adventure when plunging into one of these delectable yummies! You can omit the maple syrup if it’s hard to come by and cook the rhubarb with brown sugar or honey instead. Not a rosemary fan? Skip it. Or try it with fresh lavender! Oh, yum!

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Rhubarb-Maple Syrup Crème Brûlée

2 cups of diced rhubarb
¼ cup of maple syrup
1 teaspoon finely diced fresh rosemary
1 cup of 35% cream, heavy or double cream
¼ teaspoon of vanilla
2 large rosemary sprigs
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
4 tablespoons of maple sugar
4 four-ounce ramekins, or 4 250 ml Mason/Ball jars

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Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a small pan, add the rhubarb, 1/4 cup of maple syrup and chopped rosemary. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

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While the rhubarb cooks, add the cream, vanilla and rosemary sprigs in a small pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cream just starts to bubble. Remove from heat. Remove the rosemary sprigs, along with any leaves that may have dislodged from the stem.

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In a medium bowl, beat the egg, egg yolk and maple syrup with a whisk. While whisking, slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture. Divide the rhubarb evenly on the the bottom of the ramekins or jars.

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Pour the cream over the rhubarb in each jar, filling to the top with the ramekins or just below the top if using jars. They need to bake in a water bath. Therefore, place a casserole dish or a deep oven dish into the oven and transfer the jars to that dish. Pour some hot tap water into the dish until it reaches half way up the sides of the jars. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the custard quivers when shaken but there is no longer any liquid underneath the skin. Cool the custard in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 3 days.

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When cool, or when you’re ready to serve them, sprinkle the maple sugar over each custard. You can use white sugar instead if you don’t have maple sugar. If you have a little blow torch, go ahead and burn the sugar until it’s nice and dark. No torch? Adjust your oven rack to the highest location in the oven. Turn on the broil. Add the jars or ramekins on the top rack, just under the broiler, for about 5 minutes. Every oven is different so give it a look after 3 minutes. When the sugar had burned, they’re done! Remove from the oven, give them a few minutes for the sugar coating to crystallize and serve. Enjoy!

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