Cooking with Jonathan By Jonathan Jolicoeur

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In this weekly culinary column, I will be focusing on one dish – giving the reader a quick history of the dish, the classical preparation of it, and of course, my own spin on the classic

This week I have chosen to cover crème caramel. Creme caramel is a dessert that originated in France and Spain. It consists of a layer of soft caramel over a custard base. This dessert has many varieties around the world, but the most common ingredients amongst all these custards are the eggs.

Traditional crème caramel

1 cup​Heavy cream
½ cup​Whole milk
½ tsp​Vanilla extract
½ cup​Sugar
2​Egg yolks
1 whole​Egg
pinch salt
for caramel​½ cup Sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place milk and cream in a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat and warm until the liquid has scalded. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk the first amount of sugar and eggs together. Slowly drizzle in the scalded liquid while whisking vigorously. Add salt and vanilla extract. Strain through a fine sieve. Reserve. Place remaining sugar into a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add just enough water to dissolve the sugar. Cook until the mixture starts to brown and bubble. Allow sugar to cook until golden or dark brown. Pour caramel into 3 ramekins. Pour reserved custard base on top. Cover ramekins with foil and place into a water bath with water going halfway up the side of the dish. Bake for roughly 30 minutes to an hour, or until the center has set. Remove from water bath, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Jonathan’s crème caramel

1½ cup​Heavy cream
1​Vanilla bean, split, seeded
½ cup​Sugar
2​Egg yolks
1 whole​Egg
pinch sea salt
for caramel​½ cup Sugar
​1 oz Espresso

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place cream and vanilla bean in a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat and warm until the liquid has scalded. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk the first amount of sugar and eggs together. Slowly drizzle in the scalded liquid while whisking vigorously. Strain through a fine sieve. Reserve. Place remaining sugar into a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Cook sugar until it starts to melt. Once sugar has melted, add your espresso (caution – sugar will bubble up when espresso is added). Work sugar and espresso together until one consistency is achieved. Pour caramel into 3 ramekins. Sprinkle sea salt into ramekins. Pour reserved custard base on top. Cover ramekins with foil and place into a water bath with water going halfway up the side of the dish. Bake for roughly 30 minutes to an hour, or until center has set. Remove from water bath, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Whether you choose to prepare the classic, my twist or your own interpretation, remember that food is about bringing people together and that the act of cooking is about caring and as long as your heart is in the dish you prepare, the people you are cooking for will appreciate it (and you).

If you have any questions for me or would like to see me cover any particular dish in this column, feel free to write me, care of this publication. From my kitchen to yours, it is my pleasure to give you a peek into the mind of a chef. Thank You

Jonathan Jolicoeur is a chef at A Tavola – an Italian restaurant on Church Street in Winchester – which focuses on “farm to table” style of cooking. Jonathan was born in Somerville, lives in Woburn and has a degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

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