Sea buckthorn creme brulee recipe


We have a family tradition of making crème brûlée on New Year’s Eve, and tart berries such as the sea buckthorn can really lift a creamy dessert. Sea buckthorn grows all across Scandinavia, and in some sandy areas of England and Scotland, among other places. The orange berries are quite sour when raw but fabulous once cooked (try sea buckthorn jam or compote). Ideally, make these the day before serving them.

  • Yield: 4 generous desserts (or 5 smaller ones)


  • scant 2 cups (450 ml) double/heavy cream
  • 3½ tablespoons (50 ml) milk
  • 5½ tablespoons (80 ml) pure sea buckthorn juice
  • ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or extract (or vanilla pod/bean, if you prefer)
  • demerara/turbinado sugar, for the topping
  • sea buckthorn berries (optional)
  • high-sided roasting pan
  • 4 large ramekins (or 5 smaller ones) that can fit easily inside the pan
  • cook’s thermometer
  • cook’s blowtorch
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F) Gas 1. Boil a full kettle of water.
  2. In a saucepan, add the cream, milk and sea buckthorn juice and start to heat up.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the sugar, egg yolks and vanilla (if using a pod/bean, add it to the saucepan instead) until the mixture turns a lighter colour.
  4. Bring the cream mixture to boiling point (don’t whisk it, just stir), then take off the heat. Pour a small amount of the hot cream into the egg mixture while stirring. Make sure it is incorporated, then repeat a few times with just a dash of the hot cream each time. This is to ensure the egg does not scramble.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the pan of cream and gently whisk together. Try not to create any air bubbles, as these will end up on top of each crème brûlée, spoiling the smooth surface. Pour the crème into the ramekins and place in the roasting pan.
  6. Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan until the ramekin sides are covered to at least a depth of 1.5 cm/⅝ in. Be careful not to splash any of the crèmes. Cover the roasting pan with foil and make a few air holes.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until set – depending on your ramekins, this should take around 25–30 minutes. Use a cook’s thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the crèmes has reached 77–79°C (170–174°F).
  8. Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven, extract the ramekins and leave for 20 minutes to cool down. Once cooled, transfer to the fridge until the next day.
  9. Before serving, add a generous spoonful of demerara/turbinado sugar to the top of the crèmes, then, using a cook’s blowtorch, grill the tops until they’re melted and a caramelized crust has formed. If you can get hold of some sea buckthorn berries, make a compote with berries and sugar and add it to the top of the dishes as decoration.

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