I painted our living room a fresh new color this month as a part of my spring cleaning. The light gray I chose is called “white pepper.” (Don’t you love all of the creative names paint companies come up with for different shades?)
To celebrate the new look, I baked a dessert! I made a unique and delicious flavor of crème brûlée by adding a little white pepper to the custard. The pepper is very subtle. It shows up as an understated flavor at the end of a bite, and after a couple of bites, you start to sense a peppery heat on your tongue. It is unexpected but delightful!
White Pepper Crème Brûlée
8 ounces 2% milk
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus about 2 tablespoons for the top
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 325 F.
Whisk together the milk and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan with a heavy bottom. Heat until the sugar is dissolved, taking care not to bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a large bowl over ice. Cool down until lukewarm. Then whisk in the egg yolks, pepper, and vanilla extract.
Strain the mixture into a container with a spout. Pour the custard into 2 4-ounce ramekins or 4 2-ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking dish. Heat some water until almost boiling, and pour the water carefully around the ramekins until it reaches about halfway up the sides. (Make sure none of the water gets into the custard.)
Bake for about 38 minutes for the smaller ramekins, or 45 minutes for the larger ramekins, or until set. They should still have a slight jiggle in the middle when tapped.
Cool in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving, or overnight.