By the editors of Garden & Gun
Photographs by Margaret Houston
In July of 1937, Vernon Rudolph arrived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with twenty-five dollars in his pocket and a secret recipe for yeast-raised doughnuts. Seventy-five years later, you’ve probably heard of the company he founded, a little outfit called Krispy Kreme. And while the doughnuts are plenty good on their own—especially when the “Hot Now” sign is lit—when we heard about a chef in Greenville, South Carolina, who was blending them, literally, into a traditional crème brûlée, we felt it our sworn duty to investigate. After trying the recipe for ourselves, we’re happy to report Rudolph would likely be proud.
Often on the menu at Nose Dive Gastropub in Greenville, chef Rodney Freidank’s Krispy Kreme crème brûlée elevates the humble doughnut to new heights. It incorporates half a dozen doughnuts (we never said it was good for you), pureed into a traditional base of cream, sugar, and egg yolks, then baked into a custard that mirrors the classic dessert in texture—but with that unmistakably familiar Krispy Kreme taste. The crunchy candy top is added just before serving with either a kitchen torch or a quick run under the broiler. Hot now, indeed.
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6 Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts
1 pint half-and-half
1 quart heavy cream
12 egg yolks
1½ cups sugar
8 packets Sugar in the Raw
Puree the doughnuts and half-and-half in a blender until smooth. Combine the heavy cream with the half-and-half/doughnut puree, and heat until scalding (just before boiling).
Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl to combine and dissolve the sugar.
Once the sugar is dissolved, temper the yolk mixture by whisking in a small amount of the hot cream mixture. Once the yolks are tempered, whisk them into the remaining cream mixture. Strain the brûlée base through a fine mesh strainer.
Divide the mixture into eight ramekins. Fill until nearly full, and bake in a water bath at 325 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until the custards are set when gently shaken. (Tip: For the water bath, we used a large metal roasting pan and filled it with enough water to meet the halfway-point of the ramekins.) Once set, remove the ramekins from the water bath to cool. After cooling, dust the top of each with Sugar in the Raw, and caramelize evenly with a kitchen torch or under the broiler until the sugar darkens and bubbles. Set aside to cool (2 to 5 minutes) before serving. This will allow the sugar to harden on top.
Note: Propane kitchen torches are highly flammable. To prevent injury, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
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