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A tonka bean has the taste of bitter almonds, cloves and vanilla, adding unique flavour to this crème brûlée recipe from Stephen Crane. The brûlées are served with an apricot sorbet and warm milk chocolate emulsion. Tonka beans are available to buy online or in specialty shops

Method
1.
To make the sorbet, put the sugar and 50ml water into a pan. Bring to the boil and then cool down. Mix in the apricot purée and churn in an ice cream maker
2.
For the brûlée, toast the tonka beans in the oven for 10 minutes at 150⁰C/Gas mark 2. Peel the skin off and chop them into pieces
3.
Whisk the yolks and sugar in a bowl. Bring the cream to the boil and pour it on the top of the yolk and sugar. Add the chopped tonka beans and infuse 10 minutes
4.
Pass through 4 layers of muslin and skim. Fill up 12 cups or small ovenproof dishes with the mixture and place them on a tray
5.
Cook for 40 to 50 minutes at 110⁰C/Gas mark 1/4: The crème brûlée are cooked when they are set like a soft jelly
6.
To make the emulsion, melt the chocolate in the microwave, on medium heat for 1 minute and stir. Repeat that operation for 30 seconds at a go until the chocolate is melted
7.
Bring the cream and milk to the boil. Whisk the egg and pour the boiling cream onto it. Make an emulsion by whisking the hot cream and egg mix into the chocolate in 3 batches
8.
Fill an espuma gun with the chocolate emulsion and add 1 gas bottle. Shake the espuma bottle upside down and keep warm
9.
For the crumble. Mix all the ingredients together with the finger tips until crumbly. Divide up the crumble on a tray and cook it at 160⁰C/Gas mark 3 for 15 to 20 minutes. Break it by hands
10.
For the almond tuile, sieve the ground almonds and the flour. Mix the butter and sugar in the blender
11.
Add the flour and ground almonds, then the egg. Rest 2 hours in the fridge before use. Spread thinly on a silicone baking matt and cook on a non-stick tray at 150⁰C/Gas mark 2 for 7 minutes
12.
Turn the tray for 2 or 3 minutes until mevently golden. While still warm cut ihot wedges and allow to cool and set. Store in an airtight container until ready for use
13.
To serve, sprinkle enough caster sugar to coat the top of each brûlée and use a blow torch to caramelise and form the "brûlée" layer. Allow to cool and set for 2 minutes
14.
Add a scoop of the sorbet into a second cup and garnish with the tuille and a spring of mint. Finally spoon a layer of the crumble into the third cup before using the espuma to top up with chocolate emulsion. Serve all three cups alongside each other on the plate
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Ingredients

Apricot sorbet

Tonka bean crème brûlée

  • 8 tonka beans
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 110g of caster sugar
  • 900ml of double cream
  • caster sugar for dusting

Warm milk chocolate emulsion

Oat crumble

  • 90g of soft butter
  • 30g of Demerara sugar
  • 25g of caster sugar
  • 60g of soft flour
  • 75g of rolled porridge oats

Almond tuile

  • 75g of butter
  • 75g of sugar
  • 75g of ground almonds
  • 10g of soft flour
  • 1 egg

Equipment

  1. Ice cream maker
  2. Espuma gun
  3. Muslin cloth
  4. Blender
  5. Microwave
  6. 12 ovenproof dishes
  7. Gas canister

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Stephen Crane's crème brûlée recipe uses tonka beans for a distinctive twist to classic crème brûlée. Oat crumble, almonds and chocolate round out this dessert

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