Yield: 8 servings
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 2 vanilla beans or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 11 egg yolks
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup frozen berries (any kind you like) plus 1 ½
or 1 (14-ounce) jar of your favorite jam or jelly, melted
and thinned with water
- ½ cup butter
- 5 sheets phyllo dough or 8 pre-baked pastry cups
- 1 cup granulated brown sugar or turbinado sugar
Make the custard: Add the cream
to a non-corrosive pan. Split the vanilla beans in half length-wise
and using a knife, scrape the beans into the cream. Add 1
¼ cups sugar and the salt, stir well and place over
high heat. Cook until steam begins to rise from the surface,
but do not boil.
Beat the yolks with a whisk for 20 seconds. Slowly add the
hot cream to the yolks using a ladle, whisking constantly,
until the yolks are hot as well. (Test them with your finger.)
Pour the remaining hot cream into the yolks and stir together.
Strain through a chinois or regular sieve lined with a large
piece of damp cheese cloth. Allow it to rest for 20 to 40
Pre-heat the oven to 225ºF. Place a baking pan filled
with 2 cups water on the bottom rack of the oven.
Pour the custard slowly onto a half sheet pan (cookie sheet
with sides), making sure that the liquid is level. (If it's
not, use a balled up piece of aluminum foil to prop it up.)
Bake on the top rack for 20 minutes, or until set. To check,
jiggle the pan; if the center wiggles like jello, it's ready.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool the custard to room
temperature. When cool, transfer to the freezer and freeze
the custard. Once the custard has frozen, remove from the
freezer and use a 3-inch ring cutter to cut out 8 circles.
Return the cut circles to the freezer to hold until service.
Make the dulce de leche:
Place an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a small
sauce pot and cover with cold water-enough to cover the can
by 2 inches. Place the pot over high heat, and bring the water
to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot,
and cook for 3 hours 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and
allow the can to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes before
Make the fruit syrup or melt your favorite
jam or jelly:
(Yield: scant 2 cups) Combine the remaining ½ cup sugar
and the water in a non-corrosive pot, and place over high
heat for 5 minutes; the sugar syrup should be boiling. Add
the frozen fruit, reduce the heat to low, and stew the fruit
until soft and all the juices have been rendered, about 5
minutes. Strain and discard the fruit, reserving the syrup.
Let stand to cool.
If you elect to use jam or jelly instead, melt it over low
heat in a non-corrosive pot and thin slightly with water.
Strain and cool.
Make the crust or use store-bought pastry
Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
Melt the butter and keep over low heat. Place one sheet of
phyllo on a clean work surface and brush lightly with melted
butter to completely coat the entire sheet. Place another
piece of dough on top, and coat with butter. Continue this
process until you have 5 layers of phyllo coated with melted
Using a coffee cup as a guide, cut 8 circles into the dough.
Press down to remove (use a knife blade, if necessary.) Place
one circle in each of 8 (3-inch) ring molds (or 4 to 8-ounce
ramekins), and press down until dough fits mold. Bake phyllo
crusts in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove and set aside to cool.
Heat a brulée iron, or the bottom of a small sauce
pan, over very high heat. (Do not use a torch, it tends to
burn the custard and brown the sugar unevenly.)
Spoon 1 tablespoon of the dulce de leche into each of the
crusts. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the berry syrup (or melted
jam) and then place 1 frozen custard circle on top. Let sit
at room temperature for 30 minutes. Smooth the top with a
palette knife and sprinkle the top with a even thin layer
of granulated brown sugar. Sear the sugar with the hot iron
or sauce pot and serve.