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16 Dec 2014 No Bake Sweet

Irish Crème Brûlée Cups with Hazelnut Praline

These impressive no-bake brûlées make for a handy, stress-free dinner party dessert as they can be made 24 hours in advance. You can set the brûlée mixture in shop-bought chocolate cups or 125ml ramekins, pretty glasses or tea cups for a speedier pud.

M A K E S 10

1. Soak the gelatine leaves in a small bowl, with just enough cold water to cover, for 5-10 minutes until soft.

2. Pour the cream liqueur, cream and milk into a large, wide saucepan and slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla extract together in a large jug until smooth and well blended. Remove the cream mixture from the heat as soon as it comes to the boil and gradually pour it into the egg mixture, stirring all the time. Return the whole lot to the saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over a low heat, stirring constantly until thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon.

3. Remove from the heat. Squeeze the excess water from the now- softened gelatine and stir into the mixture until dissolved. Pop a piece of cling film directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool completely.

4. To make the chocolate cups: line the muffin tin with the cases. Snap the chocolate into a medium heatproof bowl and melt either in the microwave in -second blasts, stirring between each go, or over

a pan of simmering water, shallow enough that the water doesn’t touch the bowl. When melted, stir and remove from the heat.

5. Spoon a tablespoon of melted chocolate into a paper case and use a small brush to spread it from the bottom up the insides to coat completely. Repeat with the other nine cases. About three-quarters of the chocolate should remain so set this aside for now. Pop the muffin tin in the freezer for 20 minutes, until the cups are set.

6. Repeat the process of coating with chocolate and freezing to set three more times, to give four layers in total. The melted chocolate will cool to room temperature, which is perfect for adding layers without melting the previous layer (if you work quickly), but it should not be allowed to set. If it does, then melt it again as before, but very briefly not letting it become too warm.

7. Once the four layers are complete and set, and with cool hands, carefully peel the paper cases away from the chocolate to reveal the fluted cups. Arrange them on a tray lined with parchment paper as you go.

8. Divide the now-cooled filling evenly between the chocolate cups, levelling the tops. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours until completely set. These can be made up to a day in advance.

9. To make the hazelnut praline, line a large baking tray with parchment paper or a non-stick cooking mat and set aside. Toast the nuts in a medium, dry frying pan over a gentle heat until golden and fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside. Put the sugar into a small, heavy-based, stainless-steel saucepan with 75ml of water and bring slowly to the boil on a medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Allow to bubble for 6–8 minutes, not stirring, until it turns a rich, dark, golden colour. Immediately remove from the heat, stir in the nuts to coat and tip out onto the prepared tray. It will spread but give it a bit of help if necessary by tilting the tray. The mixture will be incredibly hot so be careful not to touch it. Leave to harden and cool completely for about 15 minutes. Once set, break the shard apart into smaller pieces with your hands or bash with a rolling pin. The pieces will keep for up to a week in an airtight container layered between parchment paper.

10. When ready to serve, dust the crème brûlée filling with cocoa powder through a fine sieve. Break the praline into ten chunks and stick one upright in the top of each cup. Serve on a pretty little plate.

This recipe is from my book No-Bake Baking, available worldwide in all good bookstores or on Amazon.

Photo © Donal Skehan

You will need...


2 gelatine leaves
300ml Irish cream liqueur

250ml double cream
250ml whole milk
8 large egg yolks
75g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract

400g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

225g caster sugar


1 tsp cocoa powder

12-hole muffin tin
10 paper muffin cases

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