Let’s just get this out of the way – this is not your traditional creme brulee or mousse. However, since the components lend themselves to those names that’s what I’m calling it – until and unless someone else comes up with a better name anyway. I’m also calling it delicious.
The orange creme is light, silky and super yummy plus – I love a sugary crust on just about anything – hmmm, let me think about that…… yeah, pretty much anything.
So, I give you my version of an Orange Mousse Creme Brulee for this month’s Sugar High Friday, the super fabulous event created by Jennifer, the Domestic Goddess, and hosted this month by Helen of Tartlette. Helen chose the theme Citrus! and really got me thinking about all the different citrusy things I love. I’ve really been putting more citrus into just about everything lately, so this one was only difficult for me in trying to decide what to make. I had a lot of big plans, one of which included making a meringue, but the time has come to make my dessert and we have three days of rain, rain, and more rain. So, I am not going to attempt the meringue and have the meringue elves turn it into a fiasco – that idea will just have to wait.
Anyway, the flavor for this is light pure orange and creamy and the texture? It is a bit harder to describe – not quite a custard, not a mousse – more like a silky smooth cross between the two – thus the name.
For the recipe below I borrowed some of the ingredients and method from the Lemon Creme Tart in BFMHTY with a few additions and the obvious change from lemon to orange. I realize that there is an Orange version in the book, but it has a mixture of citrus in it and for this I chose to just go all orange. I added some cream and some vanilla to get the texture and flavor I was looking for and, as shown, I served this in either a hollowed out orange or a ramekin – whichever you prefer.
Orange Mousse Creme Brulee
(Adapted from Pierre Herme’s Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
– makes 4 servings -Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan)
1/2 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange (2 if they are smaller)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1 large orange)
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Have a thermometer, preferably an instant-read, a strainer and a blender (first choice) or food processor at the ready. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.
1. Put the sugar and zest in a large metal bowl that can be fitted into the pan of simmering water. Off heat, work the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs followed by the orange juice.
2. Fit the bowl into the pan (make certain the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) and cook, stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. You want to cook the cream until it reaches 180°F. As you whisk the cream over heat—and you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as the cream is getting closer to 180°F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point—the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking and don’t stop checking the temperature. And have patience—depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes or more!
3. As soon as you reach 180°F, pull the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of a blender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream rest at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140°F, about 10 minutes.
4. Turn the blender to high and, with the machine going, add about 3 pieces of butter at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed while you’re incorporating the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of orange-cream dreams, you must continue to beat the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats. Add the cream and powdered sugar and continue to beat for 1 to 2 minutes more until well incorporated.
5. Pour the cream into your individual serving dishes and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and chill the cream for at least 3 hours or until ready to serve.
6. Just before you are ready to serve cover the surface of the creme with 1 teaspoon of the sugar and brulee/melt the sugar with a kitchen torch or under a broiler.
The orange creme can be kept in the frige for 4 days and in the freezer for up to 2 months.