Raspberry Custard Brulee Style

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raspberry_custardTalk about the most useless but popular present for the holidays, and cooking enthusiasts might tell you about the kitchen torch (or torches J) they received from well-meaning friends. Just how often is anyone really going to use it? If you’re wondering whether you should have sent it right back to the store for a refund, try this simple but elegant “Brulée” recipe to impress your family and friends. It’s a light and tasty raspberry custard topped with a caramelized sugar glaze – an impressive Valentine’s dessert. If you weren’t surprised (?) with a torch as a holiday gift, don’t worry — it isn’t necessary to make this delightful dish.

(Makes 6 Servings)

2 cups fat-free (skim) milk*
3 eggs, slightly beaten
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon raspberry liquor
½ teaspoon vanilla
6-ounce container fresh raspberries
6 teaspoons sugar (for topping)

Preheat oven to 325°F (or 300°F for convection oven).

In microwave or small saucepan, heat milk until it begins to steam. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, blend eggs, ½ cup sugar and flavorings. Gradually add milk to egg mixture, stirring constantly. Place about 5 fresh raspberries into each individual (6-ounce) custard cup. Pour egg mixture into custard cups. Set custard cups in a deep pan. Pour hot water into pan to within ½ inch of the top of the custard cups. Bake until custard is just set, about 40-45 minutes (or until a knife inserted in the center of the custard comes out clean). If using a convection oven, bake about 35-40 minutes. Cool immediately. Custards can be stored in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to serve, sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of sugar on each custard, and using the kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar following torch instructions. If using the broiler method, set custards under the broiler about 4 to 5 inches from the heat and broil about 2 minutes, watching carefully so they don’t burn.

To serve, set custard cups on small plates and garnish with the remaining raspberries.

*For a creamier texture, replace 2 tablespoons of skim milk with 2 tablespoons of half and half. This small amount adds only a trace of fat but provides a richer texture.