Avocado crème brulee


What you need to know:

  • DIY. Recipes with reachable ingredients are easy to make, writes A. Kadumukasa Kironde II.

Nowadays there seems to be a plethora of avocado in season to the point where establishments such as Carrefour are offering a tremendous price of Shs1,490 per kilogramme.  In Uganda, our avocados are comparatively inexpensive compared to many other worthy fruits. In terms of use, the norm in Uganda is to use them as a smashing accompaniment for any meal.  

The fruit remains a favourite for many Ugandans and grows abundantly in Uganda requiring no attention. In the past the avocado has never been commercially farmed with the exception of the Hass variety which fetches anywhere between $1.64 to $4.47 a kilogramme in New York for the largest size.

Avocado contains no fewer than 11 vitamins and generally there are two varieties available, depending on the season viz. a smooth green skinned type, and a much darker one with pebbled skin. When it comes to ripening, avocado and bananas are the same and are never allowed to mature on the tree, in fact this creates a problem for those who deal in them commercially and sell them to retailers.

Unfortunately, they all tend to ripen at the same time which is not funny and can be catastrophic for the buyer!! Avocado ought to be bought slightly under ripe and ripen at 70d FH, hastening the process, if you so wish, by enclosing the fruit in a brown paper bag. The best way to test an avocado for ripeness, is not by poking it with a finger, but by applying gentle pressure with the entire hand. When it yields slightly it is then ready to eat. 

Serving avocado
The flesh of the avocado discolours quickly when it is exposed and becomes somewhat bitter if cooked. To overcome browning, sprinkle with some citrus juice. When combining avocado with cooked foods add it at the last moment away from the heat to keep it from turning bitter. If using only half an avocado, keep the unused part unpeeled with the seed still embedded within the fruit; wrap it in foil and store at a temperature between 40dFH and 70dFH 

When people think of avocado in terms of consumption, many only think in terms of guacamole and salads which is not surprising, since Ugandans tend to be conservative and unadventurous in terms of creativity in the kitchen. Last weekend we had a surfeit of ripened avocado and the idea of an avocado dessert struck my fancy with the unanimous choice being the rare but exquisite avocado crème brulee   and the results were sheer ambrosia!

The buttery texture of avocado lends a perfect creaminess to this reinvented crème brulee that is not baked at all! This mixture of avocado and condensed milk is simply pureed in a food processor and voila. After you have simulated the consistency of a custard then you add a crunchy layer of burnt sugar on top immediately just before you are ready to serve. It is remarkable how this simple truly inspired dessert that takes less than five minutes to make plus the chilling time will leave your guests bedazzled. Because of its richness, this dessert can also act as a mini crème brulee: simply serve it in smaller ramekins and this will also yield more servings based on the size of the ramekin that you are using.

Finding blow torches
Because crème brulee has become so popular it is not difficult to find blowtorches nowadays. These can also be ordered online since It is unlikely that there are any high end kitchen stores available in Kampala. However, if you can’t find one then use a grill. Simply preheat the grill on high and place the ramekins in an ice bath in a roasting pan. Spread the sugar as described in the recipe below and place the pan under the grill. Depending on your grill it can take seconds or a few minutes to caramelize the sugar. You will need to stand by watching very carefully. When the sugar starts to bubble, remove the roasting pan at once from the grill and then remove the ramekins from the bath. 

1.Place the condensed milk and avocados in a food processor and process until the mixture has become velvety smooth which should take about a couple of minutes. Add the lemon juice one tablespoons at a time and pulse for a few seconds after each addition. At this point taste the avocado cream to check if the lemon juice is enough for your taste. A good guideline would be 2 tablespoons plus a drop or two if needed.
2.Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into each ramekin, making sure that it is level inside each unit and chill for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
3.Just before serving, spread a thin layer of sugar evenly over the top of each custard. Ignite the blowtorch to medium. Melt the sugar by moving the flame back and forth across the custard while maintaining a distance of 5 cm between the flame and the surface. The sugar will melt, bubble before turning into a nice golden caramel. Within less than a minute it will harden to a delicious crust. 
Allow to cool for 3 – 5 minutes before serving. Whatever the case, do not brulee the desert more than 20 minutes in advance of serving.