Liquid Gold + Fire = Icewine Crème Brûlée
If you’re like us, then the bright, tinsel coloured hue of the New Year has already worn away. If you’re like us then you’re knee deep in your annual month of misery. Typical January. It’s frigid outside; the sun is only out when you’re at work; your favourite produce is sour and out of season and every Friday night you have to convince yourself that “having fun is worth the cold” while putting your thermals on under your clothes. The harsh winds can make this season bleak, but Ontario does have one shining quality that makes the weather worth it – so shiny that it goes by the name “liquid gold”…
Icewine. That succulent sweet nectar that only comes from the wild shift in the climate that we call winter. Earlier this month at the iYellow Wine Club, we were reminded (how could forget?!) just how incredible Icewine can be. Founder, Angie Aiello lead us through a tasting of four decadent Icewines of varying intensities, each with a complex palate and a deep, rich, sweet-tooth satisfying flavour.
iYellow introduced us to www.niagarachilled.com, a one-stop-shop to planning your winter weekend of Niagara festivities, and #NiagaraChilled, a hashtag that’s working wonders to connect people with upcoming Icewine events. It’s a great way to stay in the loop and create some motivation to get our city butts to wine country!
Photo by the Tourism Partnership of Niagara
That night we learned that Ontario is embracing a very strange habit right now. Get this – people are buying their liquid gold and cherishing it so hard that they aren’t even cracking the seal to take a sip! As a result, hundreds of bottles sit in Canadian pantries as a novelty, lonely and unenjoyed. This is even causing Niagara vineyards to slow their production. How crazy is that?! We just won’t stand for it. As we left the iYellow Wine Club, with adorable tiny complimentary Icewine bottles in tow, we started concocting our plan for extravagant consumption.
Inspired by the iYellow Wine Club, we present to you something truly special and delectable. Something that will surely force you up from your computer to find your dusty, abandoned bottle of Icewine… and then to the LCBO to buy some more!
A rich, boozy custard with a candied and caramelized top. Both made with Icewine!
2 small ramekins
A roasting pan with edges that reach a higher height of your ramekins (make sure the pan is large enough to fit both of your ramekins side by side without touching)
3 Egg Yolks
50ml Icewine (we used Inniskillin Vidal)
1/2 cup Cream
1 dash Vanilla Extract
2 tbsp Sugar
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, then preheat your oven to 300 Fahrenheit degrees. Place your ramekins in your roasting pan and arrange them so that they aren’t touching each other or the sides of the pan.
Measure 1 tablespoon of Icewine and set aside (we’ll save this for the torched topping). In a bowl, whisk together cream, eggs yolks, vanilla and remaining ice wine. Pour your mixture into your ramekins.
Boil a kettle full of water. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, filling until the water level reaches half of the height of your ramekins. Be very careful not to splash any water into your ramekins.
Bake for 50 minutes, checking periodically using the oven light. Try not to open the oven too frequently, if at all, during the bake time. Crème Brûlée can be sensitive and relies on a constant temperature to get that magic custardy texture.
Remove from the oven and allow the ramekins to come to room temperature in the water bath. At this point you can either chill the ramekins in the fridge for 9 hours OR add 10 – 12 ice cubes to the water in the roasting pan and pop the whole thing in the fridge for 3 hours (see, impatience has it’s inventive perks too. You’re welcome).
Once completely cool, remove the ramekins from the water bath. Generously sprinkle a tablespoon (at minimum) of sugar evenly on top of the custard. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of Icewine on top of the sugar (per each custard).
Ignite your kitchen torch. Bring your flame about 2 inches away and, using a slow left and right motion, pass the flame over the sugar. The slower you go, the more likely you are to get a caramelized crunchy, spoon crackable layer with toasted patches of Icewine.
The result is rich and boozy with a layered but totally tolerable amount of sweetness. Absolutely drool worthy. Cheers to Ontario winters!
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