Lavender Honey Crème Brulee

A little dried lavender goes a long way in this subtle, sumptuous dessert.
Chumash Indians were the early settlers of Ojai—one of the few valleys that runs east to west—and considered it a nest of healing set between the ocean and the Topatopa mountains. The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, built in 1923 as a country club and golf course, continues that feeling with gorgeous grounds and an award-winning spa.

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

 The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, built in 1923 as a country club and golf course, features gorgeous grounds and an award-winning spa. 

Photo by: Image courtesy of Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Image courtesy of Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

 The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, built in 1923 as a country club and golf course, features gorgeous grounds and an award-winning spa. 

Seven types of lavender grow on the grounds of the gorgeous Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Ojai, California: English, French, Spanish, sweet, 'Goodwin Creek Grey', 'Grosso' and 'Provence'. 

The English—which actually comes from Spain—is used in essential oils and perfumes. The French variety flowers in the winter. The Spanish is considered the most unique because of large purple bracts that grow out of the flower heads.  

'Goodwin Creek Grey' thrives indoors and the 'Grosso' holds up so well it’s often used in crafts. You’d think the sweet variety would be great for cooking, but it has a high menthol content. 'Provence' is best in the kitchen.

Though Calvin Yeap, executive pastry chef for the property, could walk out the kitchen door and pluck plenty of fresh herbs for his Lavender Honey Crème Brulee, he sources a high-quality, food-grade version that comes dried.

“It’s more concentrated, allowing us to use only a small amount to capture the essence and create a delicate, fragrant flavor,” he says.

Lavender Honey Crème Brulee

Courtesy of Calvin Yeap, executive pastry chef, Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Yields 4 servings

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Sugar in the Raw for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Meanwhile, bring cream and milk to a boil in a stainless steel pot. Add the dried lavender and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to infuse for 10 minutes or until it has the desired lavender flavor. In a separate bowl, combine yolks, sugar and honey. Whisk until mixed. 

Strain lavender liquid into the yolk, sugar and honey mixture, throwing away the lavender. Whisk until fully incorporated. Divide into four ramekins and set inside a large casserole dish. Place the dish in the center of the oven. Fill it with hot water without getting any into the ramekins. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the crème brulee is set. 

Remove the casserole dish from the oven, being careful not to get any water into the ramekins. If water gets in, remove it by placing a corner of a paper towel in the bowl to absorb. 

Cool for 10 minutes on the counter before removing from the casserole dish. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. 

Sprinkle Sugar in the Raw on top and use a blow torch to brulee, using a circular motion. You can also set your oven to broil, place the brulees on a cookie sheet and position them on the top rack with the door open. Check often and rotate for an even caramelized top. 

Decorate with fresh berries and serve. 

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