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    Pistachio Crème Brûlèe with Dates

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    Pistachio Crème Brûlèe with Dates

    There's nothing better than cracking the top of a crème brûlée - and finding pistachios and a sticky date layer at the bottom is an extra treat. Make these the day before to allow them to set, then caramelise the tops before serving.

    • Christmas
    • Preparation time: 20 minutes
    • Cooking time: about 20 minutes plus overnight setting
    • Total time: 40 minutes, plus overnight setting 15 minutes

    Serves: 6

    Ingredients

    • 250g pack Waitrose Medjool Dates, stones removed
    • 568ml pot Waitrose Double Cream
    • 50g shelled roasted unsalted pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
    • 1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways
    • 6 medium egg yolks
    • 150g golden caster sugar

    Method

    1. Place the stoned dates in a food processor with 2-3 tablespoons of warm water and purée until smooth.
    2. Place the cream in a pan with the pistachios and vanilla pod. Bring to the boil quickly then turn off the heat. Remove the vanilla pod, scrape the seeds into the cream and discard the pod. Leave the cream to infuse for 10 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, divide the date purée between 6 x 100ml small cups or ramekins, spreading it over the bases with a spoon.
    4. To make the custard, mix the eggs yolks with 50g of the sugar in a bowl. Bring the cream back to a simmer, then gradually whisk into the eggs and sugar until smooth.
    5. Return the custard to the pan. Stir over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes to thicken.
    6. As soon as it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat and pour over the date purée, filling the cups or ramekins to just under the rim. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then carefully place on a small baking tray and chill overnight until set.

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    Cook's tips

    If you haven't made custard before, here's a tip to prevent it from curdling: add 3 teaspoons of cornflour to the eggs and sugar before adding the hot cream.

    You can caramelise the topping 1-2 hours in advance and chill, it will remain crisp. Don't be tempted to do this the night before because the sugar will liquefy into a thin caramel sauce and seep down the sides like a crème caramel.

    Unsalted pistachio nuts can be found in the fruit and vegetable section

    Variation

    If you're short of time, serve Waitrose Raspberry Crème Brûlée instead. You'll find it in the dairy chiller cabinet.

    Serving tips

    Use a cook's blowtorch or preheat the grill to the highest setting. Cover the custards with the remaining sugar, then place the baking tray with the custards about 5cm away from the grill or use a cook's blowtorch for 2-3 minutes until the sugar turns golden and caramelised. Serve.

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