Monday, September 13, 2010

Monkey Magic's Black Sesame Crème Caramel

This was my first time attempting a crème caramel at home. Is it really odd that I haven't made it before? It feels odd. I've done plenty of crème brûlées because it's so fun to play with fireeeee. Muahaha! But when I was younger, I always preferred the smoothness of a good crème caramel. When George from Wasamedia sent me a fabulous recipe for Monkey Magic's black sesame creme caramel with red wine poached pears & puff pastry twist (review here), it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try a crème caramel at home. I loooove black sesame in desserts when it is done well - it adds a such a unique and lovely smoky flavour.
Image courtesy of Wasamedia
I was lucky enough to get to try the real thing at the restaurant with Asian Gaga. We both loved the Monkey Magic style sushi selection (sml $19, lrg $34) and after we had stuffed ourselves full of sushi and other tasty dishes, we finished off the meal with the dessert you see above. The dark colour of the crème caramel contrasts beautifully with the colour of the red wine poached pears, and the simple twist of puff pastry covered in black sesame seeds adds a little bit of crunch.
You might notice mine looks nothing like the one from Monkey Magic. Sadface. There were several reasons for this. Firstly, I am lazy and couldn't be bothered doing the poached pears (I've never been a huge fan of wine poached pears). So I replaced the pears and pastry with some simple sesame crisp biscuits that I've blogged about previously. They are so delicious and really easy to make. I thought the white sesame in the biscuits would be cute with a black sesame dessert. This worked out pretty well in the end. Unfortunately I don't think the appearance of my crème caramel is quite up to standard. I didn't darken my caramel enough before adding it to the moulds, and I think I used the wrong type of black sesame paste (mine was made from a powder) and added too much water, so most of the black sesame ended up at the top and the bottom rather than giving the mixture a nicely uniform black speckle. Double sadface!!
Never mind, shit happens. The important thing is that this crème caramel is delicious. It's silky smooth, with that light but unmistakable smoky, nutty flavour from the black sesame paste. So even though I made a lot of mistakes, it's still going to get gobbled up. The one from Monkey Magic is still a lot prettier than mine. I will include the red wine poached pear recipe for those who are curious, but honestly the black sesame crème caramel is so good on its own, it doesn't need anything else. The sesame crisp biscuits are really moreish though, so I'm glad I made them! And just like Tomislav's Apple Crumble it was really fun to try a recipe from a restaurant, especially since I was lucky enough to try it at the actual restaurant first!
Monkey Magic's Black Sesame Crème Caramel
(serves 4, recipe courtesy of Chef Hidetoshi & Wasamedia)
For the caramel:
125g caster sugar
75ml water

400ml pouring cream
1/2 vanilla bean pod, split & seeds scraped (I used 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste)
3 egg yolks
125g caster sugar
1/2 tbsp black sesame paste

Optional: white sesame crisp biscuits (see here for recipe)

Stir caster sugar and water over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and let mixture boil without stirring for approx 5 minutes, or until it turns dark golden brown. Carefully and quickly pour mixture in 4 x 1/2 cup-capacity ramekins/dariole moulds. Set aside

Preheat oven at 180C.Heat cream with vanilla bean to a simmer. Whisk yolks and sugar until creamed, and then add black sesame paste. Gradually add hot cream, continously whisking to combine. Strain mixture then pour into moulds over the caramel.

Place moulds in a deep oven tray, then add boiling water until it reaches halfway up the moulds. Cook in oven for 30-35mins. (I put too much water in my tray so it took closer to an hour for mine) Remove from the oven when just set, remove from tray and cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve, run a sharp knife around the edge of the mould to loosen before turning out on to plate.
Red Wine Poached Pears
1 Pear, chopped roughly
1 Nashi pear, chopped roughly
300ml Red wine
100ml water
100g caster sugar
½ cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 tsp black peppercorns

Combine all ingredients except pears in a medium saucepan and reduce liquid to 2/3rds. Add pears and cook until tender.
raspberri cupcakes & friend dined as guests of Monkey Magic, thanks to Wasamedia. This dessert is being offered as a Sugar Hit as part of the Sydney International Food Festival.

Monkey Magic
3/406 Crown St
Surry Hills NSW 2010

(02) 9358 4444
Mon-Sat: 6pm-10pm

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  1. We've been going a bit crazy using black sesame in desserts, so was really excited to see this! I absolutely wish I could try one of these cos I loooove both black sesame and creme caramel! Lovely photos too!

  2. Au contraire, your version looks as good as Monkey Magic's! Black sesame would taste amazing in this dessert.

  3. Oh! I really like black sesame tho I've never heard of black sesame with creme caramel before.. how intriguing! Will try it out next time I make creme caramel ! Happen to have a pack of black sesame powder in the pantry too. =D

  4. I've had alot of black sesame icecream but never a black sesame creme caramel it sounds absolutely mouth watering... and as for it settling at the bottom .. ur meant to say... that was "the look" i was going for ;) still looks damn fabulous darl! x

  5. Black sesame creme caramel! Yum. Love the presentation too :)

  6. Monkey Magic was one of my favourite shows!! :D

    Mmm.. this baby with some black sesame ice cream would be heavenly. Lovely work on the creme caramel + beautiful presention ♥

  7. I like the use of black in desserts because it seems somewhat wrong, and wrong seeming dishes are always fun. This is all kinds of delicious wrongness. I would like to see your teeth immediately after eating a big spoonful.

  8. I love love love black sesame in desserts! Thanks for sharing the idea, it's on my must do list :)

  9. I've done creme caramel at home before, but never anything as unique or beautiful as your black sesame version. Its awe-inspiring.

  10. Wow! This is sooo stunning! I am going to have to try it.

  11. I am obsessed with kurogoma!! Absolutely love it in savoury dishes but even better in desserts. Stunning photos and thanks for the recipe :)

  12. Yum! It certainly look more appetising than the dessert I had in Monkey Magic - it was delicious there too - but it looked like a black lip abalone. Yours doesn't!

  13. Mmmm creme caramel sure is smooth and I think u did an awesome job! The black layer reminds me of the japanese puddings

  14. I've only become a recent convert to black sesame in desserts and this looks fantastic. Your photos are so beautiful too.

  15. Black sesame creme caramel sounds so good!

  16. In cooking/baking- alot of shit happens, I guess in the end it means another lesson learnt. I think you're being too harsh on yourself. I actually like the colours of your creme caramel more than the restaurant one, I liked the fact that you can actually identify that it's a black sesame flavoured dessert. I really like the sesame crisp, seems like such a simple thing to make. Can't wait to try it.

  17. Honey @ honeyandsoy - You should try it! Hopefully you won't make the mistakes I did!

    OohLookBel - Aww thanks!! Black sesame does go very well in it :)

    Celeste @ Berrytravels - I've had it in a brulee but I really enjoyed it as a creme caramel!

    the dainty baker - Mmm black sesame ice cream is the best. hahahah you're right, okay it was totally intentional!

    Helen (Grab Your Fork) - Thank you so much!

    Margaret Tran - Hahaha :) Ooh yes I love the ice cream. Thanks!

    Conor @ Hold the Beef - Hahaha wrong dishes are definitely fun! :) ROFL that would not be a good sight.

    Ellie (Almost Bourdain) - Same here! you're very welcome :)

    Indie.Tea - Aww you're too kind! Thank you :)

    Ivy - Thanks! Good luck, hopefully you won't experience the issues I had!

    diva - Agreed, it's so great in desserts! Thank you!

    Forager @ The Gourmet Forager - ahahaha abalone, hilarious!! that makes me feel better :) thanks!

    FFichiban - Hehe thanks :)

    delicieux - Thanks so much!

    Kevin - It's very tasty!!

    linda - You always think I'm too harsh on myself, I always think you're too easy on me!! Yeahh I love the sesame crisps :)


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