"A mushroom creme broulee? Really? How daring!" That was our immediate reaction when we received Cheryl Perry's winning recipe a few weeks ago. Dessert items are rare indeed for our contest, and we'd be less than candid if we didn't admit to some doubts. But of course, we had to try it, and the sooner, the better.
It turned out to be delicious. It was sweet but not too sweet, had precisely the right consistency, and definitely had a distinct, mushroomy flavor along with a lovely light chocolate color. It was one of the most original mushroom recipes we've seen, and we are very proud that it is our 2011 winner!
Congraulations to Cheryl who created our winning recipe!
Cheryl hails from Hertford, NC, a bustling metropolis of around 2,200 located in the Northwest corner of the state that dates back to 1785. According to Wikipedia, it's home to baseball legend Jim "Catfish" Hunter, and is the final resting place for the equally legendary radio deejay, Wolfman Jack. Cheryl may be the next addition to this list; apart from winning our contest, she's working on producing a family cookbook. She says that part of the fun is "putting together ingredient combinations that one wouldn't expect." With her winning entry, she did exactly that.
Sincere thanks go to all the many people who entered our contest this year. As in recent years, the entries ran the gamut from simple to really complicated. They came from many different cities in the USA as well as some foreign countries as well, including Bangladesh - but that's the subject of another post.
We prepare any and all recipes we think have a chance of being competitive, which leads to some very intriguing dinners and a few that we're unlikely to prepare a second time. But that's the nature of recipe contests, and a big part of the fun!
The creamy brulee is a lovely shade of chocolate.
Maple Mushroom Creme Brulee with Crispy Bacon
8 ounces portabella mushrooms, chopped
3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
8 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 pieces crisp bacon, crumbled
- Place the mushrooms and heavy cream in a food processor; puree until smooth. Cover mixture and refrigerate overnight then strain cream through a fine mesh strainer.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, beat together the strained cream, maple syrup, egg yolks, vanilla extract and cinnamon until blended. Pour mixture into eight 6 once ramekins or custard cups.
- Place ramekins into a shallow baking dish. Pour boiling water into the baking dish, halfway up the sides of the ramekins, forming a water bath. Bake 35 minutes or until set. Remove ramekins from the water bath and refrigerate until cold.
- To serve, sprinkle top of brulees with the granulated sugar and, using a pastry torch, caramelize top until crisp. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon.