Bonjour everyone!! I just got back from an unforgettable trip to Paris by way of Antwerp, where they flew me down for an incredible evening for 800 local women! It was my first Yiddish-speaking demo (although I spoke in English) and I was so worried about the culture-clash. What if they didn’t get my humor? What if my food was too modern for their traditional tastes? Alas, the event was a huge success and I am SO relieved!
In preparation for Shavuot, we made sushi nachos from my cookbook, with a tuna tartare variation, my couscous arancini and my frangipane fruit galette with seasonal plums (almond flavored pastries are always a hit in Belgium!). The local butcher (where they sell pink hotdogs colored with beet juice!) prepped all the tasting samples and the room was beautifully set up by the local volunteers, to benefit the Bikur Cholim organization.
The night before the big event, I held a private cooking class for some event sponsors where we made pho and ramen bowls from scratch. It was a super fun evening with the greatest group of ladies and I had a total blast!
But the food! Lets talk about the FOOD! Flemish asparagus is big in Belgium, and since white asparagus are in season, it was on all the menus. Asparagus are covered in a sauce made of hard boiled eggs, which is not very appealing but it tasted alright.
Real Belgian waffles were at every turn, although not a kosher spot to be found. Lots of traditional Jewish bakeries laced every street, but Kleinblatt was the stand out! Their brioche avec creme and cheese danishes melted on my tongue, and the dairy custard cream made me realize why American bakeries will never measure up. I stuffed my suitcase with pearl sugar and chocolate Dutch sprinkles so we can make the real Belgian waffles I kept smelling along the trip!
Onto Paris, I stuffed myself with foie gras (goose liver) and buttery croissants. Lots of Tunisian tuna dishes, and the best latte I’ve ever had. There was gooey camembert salad and fresh homemade pasta, the most amazing Parisian chocolate and crepes with chestnut cream. TAKE ME BACK!!!
No honestly, don’t take me back because I’m still getting over getting stuck there for Shabbos after my Friday morning flight was canceled and there were no other flights to get me home in time. But alas, I am home safe and sound and sharing the recipe for this amazing rosewater crème brûlée with you all because if my travels taught me anything, it’s that dairy desserts are the very best!!
Rosewater Crème Brûlée
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp rosewater
pinch of sea salt
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp sugar, plus more for topping
for topping: rose petals, chopped pistachios
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a saucepan, combine heavy cream and salt and bring it to a simmer. Stir in vanilla and rosewater.
In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar together until creamy. Add a ladle of the heated cream into the eggs and stir to combine. Continue adding another few ladles, one at a time, and then slowly stir in the remaining cream.
Divide the custard between four ramekins and place ramekins in a baking dish. Carefully fill the dish with boiling water halfway up the sides of the ramekins, taking care not to splash the custard with water. Bake, uncovered, for approximately 45 minutes, or until centers are barely set. Cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or up to a couple of days.
When ready to serve, remove the custard from the fridge and pat the custard dry if droplets have formed on top. Sprinkle each custard with about a teaspoon of sugar in a thin layer. Using a kitchen torch, heat the sugar until it starts to brown and bubble, or place ramekins in a preheated broiler 2-3 inches from heat source. Broil until sugar melts and browns, 3-5 minutes. Return the crème brûlée to the fridge and serve within an hour or two.
NOTE: if you are not a fan of rosewater, please note that since the crème brûlée is flavored with rosewater and not rose petals, the rosewater flavor is very subtle. You can choose to leave it out and use vanilla bean or increase vanilla extract to 1 1/2 teaspoons.
VARIATION: for a pareve version, check out my friend Mel’s recipe.