For the story behind this fabulous recipe, read “Dish Behind the Dish – Orange Fig Crème Brulee“
7 oz. dried black mission figs (I used Sun-maid California Mission Figs)
1 cup water
1 long strip orange peel
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups plain yogurt (any kind is fine)
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3 tablespoons water, optional
4 or 5 4oz – 6oz ramekins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup water, orange peel, and 1/4 cup sugar. Boil for 10 minutes. While poaching liquid is boiling, cut stems off dried figs (reserve 3 figs for garnish if you want). Cut remaining figs in half. When poaching liquid has boiled for 10 minutes, add figs to liquid. Cook for 10 more minutes or until the water has turned to syrup. When syrupy, remove from heat and remove orange peel. Add honey and vanilla to warm figs and stir. Let stand to cool at room temperature while you make the custard.
In a medium bowl, mix yogurt, cinnamon, and orange zest. Using a wire beater, stir until completely mixed. Add beaten egg yolks to the mixture.
Next, pour figs and their syrup into a blender. Add just enough custard to the blender to help blend the figs. Add the optional 3 tablespoons of water to thin if you need to. Blend mixture until as smooth as possible. Next, put a fine mesh sieve over your remaining custard in the bowl and pour the fig mixture into the sieve. Work the fig mixture through the sieve, pushing it through. The sieve will take out any large pieces of fig and remove the seeds so your custard remains creamy.
After the fig mixture is worked through the sieve, fold the smooth fig mixture into the custard evenly and discard the seeds left in the sieve. Pour mixed custard into a measuring cup for easy pouring! *Tip: use the 3 figs you reserved, sliced thinly, and line the sides of each ramekin in a pattern, pushing them up against the side of the cup or on the bottom to secure them. They will stay in place as you pour in the custard!
Place 4-6 ramekins in a 9×13 glass baking dish that has paper towels on the bottom (the paper towels will keep the ramekins from sliding around). Fill each ramekin 3/4 of the way with custard. Next, fill the baking dish with hot water until it’s 1/2 way up the sides of the ramekins, being careful not to get water in the ramekins. Carefully, place the baking dish with ramekins in the oven and bake 25-30 minutes, or until the custard has set like jiggly Jello. When finished baking, remove from oven, take out the ramekins, and discard the water from the baking dish. Let custards sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before putting them in the fridge to chill for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, remove from fridge and sprinkle tops with granulated sugar. Using a torch, gently brulee the sugar. If you don’t have a torch, put it in the oven set to “broil”. Be sure to watch closely, it happens fast! Be sure to check that your ramekins are oven-safe before broiling. Enjoy!