Roquefort and Fig Crème Brûlée with a Pecan salad
This is a luxurious, creamy brûlée, topped with crushed, peppered pecan nuts, and is great as a light lunch/starter or as an alternative cheese course, served with a glass of Sauternes. Serve with rustic grissini (breadsticks) or toast, as shown in the picture opposite, and with a pear and pecan salad. As a variation, you could replace the Roquefort with a Stilton (such as a Colston Bassett), substitute seedless grapes for the figs or even omit the fruit and use some sautéed leeks or diced roast beetroot instead. serves 6
Taken from The Modern Vegetarian by Maria Elia, published by Kyle Books, priced £14.99. Photography: Jonathan Gregson
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You Will Need
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2. Heat the cream and garlic in a pan.
Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, salt and white pepper together until pale. Slowly whisk a little of the hot cream into the yolks, then add the remaining cream and strain through a sieve into a bowl. Stir in half the Roquefort cheese.
Divide the dried figs and the remaining Roquefort between 6 ramekins and fill each one with the cream mixture. Place the ramekins in a baking tin lined with a tea towel and fill with enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cook in the oven for about 30–50 minutes, or until set (this will depend on the size of the ramekins). Leave to cool and then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Top the brûlées with the demerara sugar and blast them with a blowtorch or under a very hot grill until caramelised. Skewer the brûlées immediately with a couple of grissini broken to different lengths, then mix the pecans with cracked black pepper and sprinkle over the top.
To make the salad, mix together the pears, mixed leaves, pecans and pickled figs (if using). Whisk the oils and vinegar together and use to dress the salad. Serve with the Roquefort crème brûlées. note If you don’t own a blowtorch, try heating a metal dessertspoon in a gas flame until it is red hot then, using the back of the spoon, carefully caramelise the sugar. The spoon will never be the same again, but your crème brûlées will look great!