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Lavender Creme Brulee

This recipe has been reproduced with the kind permission of Linda Stradley who runs the What's Cooking America web site <click here>

Linda says, "My mom was a great cook, but she cooked the typical foods of the 50's of overcooked meat and vegetables. It wasn't until I really got interested in cooking for my family that I discovered the wonders of great food using simple fresh ingredients! I also discovered the love of eating and the problems of weight gain!"

She has always had a fascination with history. Put this together with her love of good food and you have a culinary historian. Linda says, "The research of the origins of foods of America have become an obsession when being introduced to new foods." Traveling with her husband, Don, all around the States, she always combines her pursuit of pleasure and eating with the pursuit of new foods and their history.

She originated the What's Cooking America site in 1997 and continues to maintain it with regular additions. The web site is a continuation of her first cookbook also called What's Cooking America, which she co-authored with her friend Andra Cook. Linda has a new book available called I'll Have What They're Having: Legendary Local Cuisine - for details or to purchase <click here>

If you love lavender and love creme brulee, this dessert will instantly WOW you!


4 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers*
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar, divided

* Found in Health Food Stores, Gourmet Stores, or use your own hand-dried flowers.


  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Butter (6 ounce) custard cups and set them into a glass baking dish. If cooking custards in a metal pan, cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of newspaper to ensure an even temperature on the bottom. Place custard cups in a shallow ovenproof roasting or baking pan.
  • In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, add cream and the lavender flowers; heat just to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat and allow lavender flowers to infuse with the cream for 5 minutes.
  • Strain cream mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove lavender flowers.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1/2 the sugar until light and creamy.
  • Slowly add the strained cream to the egg mixture, blending well.
  • Divide custard mixture among the custard cups.
  • Bring the water for the water bath to a light simmer on top of the stove; carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come half-way cup the sides of the custard cups.

    The most common mistake people make in baking a custard is not putting enough water in the hot-water bath. The water should come up to the level of the custard inside the cups. You must protect your custard from the heat.
  • Bake for 60 minutes or until set around the edges but still loose in the center. The cooking time will depend largely on the size of the custard cup you are using, but begin checking at a half hour and check back regularly. When the center of the custard is just set, it will jiggle a little when shaken, that's when you can remove it from the oven.
  • Remove from oven and leave in the water bath until cooled. Remove cups from water bath and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  • When ready to serve, sprinkle approximately 2 teaspoons of remaing sugar over each creme brulee.
  • For best results, use a small hand-held torch. Hold the torch 4 to 5 inches from the sugar, maintaing a slow and even motion. Stop torching just before the desired degree of doneness is reached, as the sugar will continue to cook for a few seconds after flame has been removed. If you don't have a torch, place creme brulees 6 inches below the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes or until sugar bubbles and turns golden brown.
  • Refrigerate creme brulees at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 - 8

© Linda Stradley - What's Cooking America