Trish Deseine Cooks: Baked Custard with Roast Grapes, Pine Nuts, Thyme and Bay

A new take on crème brulée from food editor TRISH DESEINE

Most French crème brulée recipes I’ve seen (including my ex sister-in-law’s world famous version) do not heat the milk or cream before it is poured onto the eggs, and the eggs and sugar are given but a cursory whisk. I like to heat the cream – as I feel it allows the vanilla to infuse better – but use a fork instead of beaters for the eggs as it makes things so much easier in my kitchen. You can play around with the flavours here, adding the bay to the custard instead of the grapes and using maple syrup as a sweetener instead of traditional sugar. Plums or apricots would work very well as the fruit toppings too.

For 6

10 minutes preparation

45 minutes cooking


5 egg yolks

500ml single cream

2 tablespoons sugar or maple syrup

1 vanilla pod or a teaspoon of vanilla extract

300G seedless grapes

2 tablespoons pinenuts

Sprig of thyme

2 bayleaves


Pre heat the oven to 180°C. Remove the grapes from the stalks, set on a roasting tin with the thyme, torn bayleaves and pinenuts and roast for 20/25 minutes or so – until the skins are puckered and the juices released. Remove from the oven, lower the oven to 150°C and leave the grapes to cool.

Bring the cream to a boil with the vanilla pod split in two. Sweeten with sugar or syrup.  Remove from the heat for a minute or so before pouring onto the eggs.

Whisk the egg yolks with a fork in a bowl large enough to hold the cream, until slightly frothy.

Pour the hot cream onto the yolks, whisking as you go. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod halves and mix through the custard.

Set a gratin dish into a baking tin. Fill the dish with the cream, put into the oven, then fill the tin with hot water, coming up to 2/3 of the height of the gratin dish.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the custard is set around the edges but still has a slight wobble in the middle.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Chill before serving with the roast grapes on top.


Discover Trish Deseine’s previous recipes

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