Sour Cherry with Grand Marnier Creme Brulee

Sour Cherry Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh/frozen sour cherries ( I used frozen sour cherries that were fresh in the summer)
  • 1-2 Tb raw honey
  • 1 Tb arrowroot powder
  • 2-4 Tb Grand Marnier

Creme Brulee Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup evaporated cane juice sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
  • 1 tsp Grand Marnier (optional)
  • 6 egg yolks, large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar for brulee part

Sour Cherry Filling:

Put all of the cherries, along with the juices into a heavy-bottomed saucepan (ensure there are no seeds in the cherries).  Turn the heat to medium.  If your cherries are frozen, wait before adding any of the other ingredients until the cherries are completely thawed.  If your cherries are thawed or fresh, add 1 Tb of honey and allow to bubble, stirring occasionally.  Keep it in this stage for about 10 minutes.  You are working towards a nice filling consistency.

Sprinkle the arrowroot over the cherries and mix thoroughly.  If the mixture is bubbling rapidly, turn the heat down, in order to avoid burning.  You want it to simmer/bubble.  The filling should start to set as you stir occasionally.  Taste throughout to see where the filling sweetness is at.  If you feel that the filling needs another tablespoon of honey, add it now.  Once the filling has thickened (dip a metal spoon in the filling and it should coat it), add two tablespoon of Grand Marnier (I used 2 Tb).  Adding more than two tablespoons will make the filling taste more boozy; however, once the filling is added to the ramekins and cooked with the creme, the Grand Marnier burns off a bit with just two tablespoons.  Cook on stove top for an additional minute, then remove from heat to cool. 

Creme Brulee Ingredients:

Combine the milk, cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until it reaches the boiling point.  Set aside to steep until it cools down.

Preheat oven to 300 F, and adjust a rack slightly lower than center.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks & optional 1 tsp of Grand Marnier briefly.  Add the cream mixture very slowly into the yolks, whisking well with each addition.  Once blended, strain the mixture through a fine sieve.  Put cherry filling into 8 or 9 (4-ounce) shallow ramekins (about 2 inches high) to cover bottom (about 2 tsp), then pour the custard mixture on top of the cherry filling, and bake them in a water bath for 35 to 45 minutes, until centers are softly set.  "Remove from oven and cool in water bath until comfortable to handle.  Cover the dishes and refrigerate for 2 hours.  These can be stored for 1 or 2 days before serving.

To serve, sprinkle each top with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of brulee sugar and torch to caramelize.  For thicker caramelized crunch, use more sugar.