Recipe of the Week: Creme Brulee in Apples

Quick, what's better than crème brûlNe?

How about crème brûlNe in an edible bowl?

The Catalans, those famously free-thinking denizens of northeastern Spain, Andorra and the adjacent part of France, claim to have pioneered crème brûlNe. In a burst of national pride, they call it crema catalana, and some culinary savant in Catalunya decided to put the resulting custard in baked apples and then burn some sugar on top.

In-geeeeeee-nious! And so this week, just past the jump, we bring you the outstanding recipe from Colman Andrews' Catalan Cuisine, pomes farcides amb crema catalana. You might not be able to pronounce it, but your taste buds won't care.


1 pint half-and-half
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cinnamon stick
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar, divided
4 large baking apples
1/2 cup water
1 small pat butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a baking pan just big enough to hold the apples.
  2. Core the apples, but don't cut all the way through the bottoms. You want them to look like apple-shaped bowls. Trim the peel from the top inch or so of the apple.
  3. Boil the water and mix with 1/4 cup of the sugar. Pour this over the apples.
  4. Bake the apples for 30 to 45 minutes, until they are soft.
  5. Heat the half-and-half, lemon zest and cinnamon in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until it just boils, then strain into a bowl and cool.
  6. Whip the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of the sugar until it is a smooth ribbon.
  7. Beat the cooled half-and-half into the egg mixture and return to the saucepan.
  8. Heat slowly, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
  9. Let the custard cool while the apples bake, then place in the apples.
  10. Sprinkle the last 1/4 cup of sugar over the custard in the apples and melt with a small torch or under a broiler for just a minute or so.

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