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Spherical Creme Brulee Recipe

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Even though crème brulee is one of my favorite desserts, this was not the reason that triggered the molecular gastronomy exploration based on this classic dessert. It was the quail egg yolk with a caramelized outer shell made by my chef friend Flavio that inspired me to search for a molecular gastronomy sphere to which I could apply the caramelization technique of the egg yolk dish. The obvious answer was a liquid crème brulee sphere using the Reverse Spherification technique.

In the end, I was able to create the liquid crème brulee sphere but I failed miserably when I tried to apply the caramelization technique of the egg yolk. The problem was Spherical creme brulee that the sphere would never get dry causing the caramel to liquefy too fast not giving me time to serve it with a perfectly crispy and good looking caramel film. But here it is anyway. The resulting liquid crème brulee spheres are delicious and
you can still carefully melt some sugar on top with a torch.

Liquid Crème Brulee Ingredients

- 1 cup of heavy cream

- 1/6 cup (40ml) of sugar

- 4 fresh egg yolks

- ¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) vanilla extract

Crème Brulee Sphere Ingredients

- 250 g liquid crème brulee

- 6 g Calcium Lactate Gluconate

- 0.8 g Xanthan

Alginate Bath

- 1000 g (35 oz) of water

- 5 g sodium alginate


Start by preparing the alginate bath. Mix the sodium alginate in the water using an immersion blender until the sodium alginate is completely dissolved. If this is your first time doing this, be aware that this may take longer than expected. Let it rest for 24 hours in the fridge so that the air that has entered the mixture disappears and the sodium alginate is completely rehydrated.

Heat heavy cream with vanilla extract in low heat until it starts to boil. While you wait for the cream to boil, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl on simmering water until the mixture turns from yellow to pale yellow and becomes thicker. Remove the bowl from the simmering water and start adding very slowly the heated cream while you continue whisking. Then cool it placing the bowl in ice cold water and when cold to the touch, pass the mixture through a fine sieve.

Dilute the calcium lactate gluconate in the crème brulee mix. Depending on several factors, the crème brulee mix could have slightly different consistencies in each preparation. Check the viscosity of the crème brulee mix before adding all the xanthan. You may want to test it first in the alginate bath and if it spreads on the top of the bath it needs to be more viscous and more xanthan should be added. Mix the necessary xanthan with a hand blender. Let it rest in the fridge for a few hours.

You are now ready to start the spherification process! Remove the alginate bath from the fridge. Scoop the crème brulee mixture with a half sphere 5ml measure spoon and carefully pour it into the alginate bath. It is important that the crème brulee spheres don’t touch since they would stick together. Leave the spheres "cooking" for about 2 minutes in the alginate bath and then carefully remove them using a slotted spoon.

Then rinse them very gently with water and strain them carefully. If desired they could be stored in a sealed container with water in the fridge. To improve the technique read 10 Tips to Create a Perfect Sphere.

 Serving Suggestions

- Melt some sugar on top with a torch without overheating the sphere. You’ll have to serve immediately after this.

- Serve in appetizer spoon on a slice of fresh strawberry or fig.

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  • Jeremy_miner

    How many spheres will that recipe produce?

    • QuantumChef

      Around 15

  • Mike

    what about using spun sugar as a garnish?? itll give you the same effect without having to torch the sphere.

    • QuantumChef

      That’s a great idea!

  • zappygolight

    how lare can the spheres be? could they be made to be twice or three times the size and just increase the cooking time in the alginate bath? or would they not hold?

    • QuantumChef

      Yes, you can make them a little larger. Not sure how large because I never tried more than double the size. One of the issues is that the gel membrane needs to be thicker and it is not as pleasant to eat.

  • Georgia

    can the creme brulee mixture be warm when “cooked” in the sodium alginate bath?

    • QuantumChef

      Yes, temperature is not a problem.

  • Alex G.

    Why not make caramelized spun sugar to top them with?
    Also, how long can you store these before the gelling solidifies the entire centre?

    • QuantumChef

      Hi Alex, spun sugar is a great idea. These are made with reverse spherification so the gelling process does not continue once you remove the spheres from the bath.

  • Matt

    How far in advance can I prep the mixture? If lets say I make them in the morning and keep the brulee mixture in a sealed container till the evening will this still work when I put it into the bath?

    • QuantumChef

      Yes, no problem. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

      • Matt

        Ok, thanks!

  • Veronica Poon

    Can I freeze the brulee mixture to go for frozen spherification?

    • QuantumChef

      Yes, you should be able to freeze it.

  • Kim

    Is calcium lactate the same as used in the recipie

  • Huron Blackheart

    What is the diff between that and Calcium Gluconate?

  • Jordan

    If using the reverse spherification technique, what is the best way to store for ready to serve. Also, how long will these spheres stay good for? Thanks!

  • Nasrullah

    my chocolate spheres loose shine once come out of algin bath. Any suggestions?