Rhubarb and Lavender Crème Brûlée

by thomandaimee

Instead of hiding the beauty of the rosy vegetable inside a crumble (equally delicious though), we decided to keep the pinky surprise under the wibbly-wobbly custardy crème brûlée. Nothing beats having your guests ooh-ing away after they dig into the creamy goodness to find the treasure within. The essence of lavender is another unexpected addition, all thanks to N.

I’ve never been a big fan of the lilac bulbs since their reputation have been tarnished by cheap hand soap. So personally, I’m sitting on the fence on this dish although I was intrigued on how both flavours will come through. But do not let my silly taste buds deny you of this fruity and floral medley (I hate mint because it’s like eating toothpaste). If you love lavender and the idea of it being paired up with rhubarb, give this a shot. Everyone else loved it. It really is just something wrong with me.

Our only trouble with this wonderful French dessert was the blowtorch. It refused to light up until we realised that we bought the wrong butane gas filler. We wasted the whole morning filling the air with flammable gas and being awfully frustrated with naked crème brûlées sitting in the fridge. That was luckily fixed and now we are slightly smarter on the area of blowtorches.

Rhubarb and Lavender Crème Brûlée
Adapted from Gordon Ramsay, Ramsay’s Best Menus

Serves 4

15g butter
150g rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
3 tbsp honey
½ vanilla pod, split
250ml double cream
100ml whole milk
4 large free-range egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon lavender, optional
50g caster sugar, plus extra to finish
Few drops of vanilla extract


Heat the oven to 140°C. Stand four ramekins or similar ovenproof dishes (200ml capacity) in a baking tin.

Melt the butter in a wide frying pan. Add the rhubarb, honey and seeds from the vanilla pod.

Cook over a high heat, tossing occasionally, for 5–6 minutes until the rhubarb is soft and the juices and honey have caramelised. Spoon into the ramekins.

Slowly heat the cream, milk and lavender together in a saucepan to just below the boil. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract together in a bowl until evenly blended. Trickle the hot, creamy milk onto the egg mixture, stirring constantly, until well combined. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large jug. Skim off any froth from the surface, then pour into the ramekins.

Pour warm water into the baking tin to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 40–45 minutes until the custards are lightly set. To test, gently shake a ramekin – the custard should still be a little wobbly in the centre. Remove the ramekins from the tin and allow to cool completely, then chill until ready to serve.

For the topping, sprinkle 1–2 tsp sugar evenly on top of each custard, then wave a cook’s blowtorch over the surface to caramelise. Serve at once.


Using a whisk when trickling the hot creamy milk onto the egg mixture creates bubbles which I want to avoid when making creme brulees.