Crème Brûlée: Fit for a King

There is a bit of a tug of war about what country gets credit for coming up with crème brûlée. But Chef François Massialot, born in Limoges in 1660 and died in Paris in 1733, gives the French a leg up on perfecting the recipe, Chef Massialot prepared meals for Philippe, duke of Orleans, who was the brother of Louis XIV. He also fed the Dauphin, and other royalty. Safe to say he was quite successful.

François Massialot wrote two cookbooks: Le Cuisinier royal et bourgeois [...], first printed anonymously in 1691, and which was reprinted many times up to the middle of the eighteenth century, and a year later, the Nouvelle instruction pour les confitures, les liquers et les fruits [...], also reprinted several times in the eighteenth century.

Chef Massialot revolutionized French cookbooks by arranging his recipes alphabetically by ingredient. And he included two recipes with chocolate as an ingredient: in a sauce for duck, and in a sweet custard. Until then chocolate was consumed solely as a drink. François Massialot invented chocolate pudding as well as refined the recipe for crème brûlée -- for those two culinary achievements we owe him eternal gratitiude.

Here's my version of the classic crème brûlée -- I like to think that Chef Massialot would have approved. More about Chef Massiolat and the origins of crème brûlée can be found at

Banana Colada Crème Brûlée
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
1 Lindt White Coconut chocolate bar (or other good coconut white chocolate bar)
1 just ripe banana
4 tablespoons white sugar

In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg yolks, vanilla and 1/4 cup sugar until creamy yellow throughout. Set aside. Break the candy bar into small pieces or coarse chop in food processor, set aside. In a saucepan, bring the milk and half and half to a low simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whisk in the chopped white chocolate until melted in. Slowly add milk mixture into egg mixture, whisking briskly to insure the eggs don't curdle.

Place four 6 ounce ramekins (ungreased) into a large baker. Next, strain custard mix through a fine sieve and into a pitcher or pouring bowl. Evenly divide strained custard mixture among the ramekins. Add enough hot tap water to the baking pan to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake on a rack set in the oven's center for 30-40 minutes or until custard is set but still jiggly in the center. Let cool to room temperature then refrigerate at least two hours before serving. Cooked custards store well for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, add three or four thin slices of ripe banana, sprinkle the tops of each banana garnished custard with 1 tablespoon of sugar, spreading evenly. Using a culinary torch, melt the sugar to form a crispy top over the sliced bananas. Allow to sit just about 3-5 minutes before serving.


  1. I've never tried banana creme brulee, it sounds divine!


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