Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Orange Cinnamon Crème Brûlée -- and a #bookgiveaway


Today is Launch Day for GUILTY AS CINNAMON, the second in my Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries. Leave a comment below to be entered for a chance to win a signed copy.

And it’s also launch day for DEAD TO THE LAST DROP, by Cleo Coyle, the 15th Coffeehouse Mystery. Congratulations, Cleo—LOVE the title!

I’m often asked where the recipes in my books come from. Some are family favorites, some are new finds I’m eager to share, and some I create, discover, or adapt for the book. For GUILTY AS CINNAMON, I went looking for a fun dessert that would feature cinnamon, but because the book is set in April, have a light, springy feel. Now, having tested it several times—we suffer, so you don’t have to—I can assure you it’s supremely fabulous in any season.

We got started making crème brûlée years ago, when my mother noticed Mr. Right’s fondness for it on dinners out, and gave us a set of ramekins and a kitchen torch. Men and fire, right? Turns out to be exactly right for GUILTY AS CINNAMON, though I won’t tell you just why!

But I will say while Pepper and Tag don’t agree on much, they are of one mind when it comes to this recipe: the very best crème brûlée ever.

You may blanch when you see that it’s made entirely with cream. You could substitute half-and-half and still swoon with its fabulosity.

Orange Cinnamon Crème Brûlée

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup white sugar (divided use)
Zest of 1 orange, removed in wide strips with a peeler
1 cinnamon stick
6 to 8 strands of fresh thyme
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons turbinado sugar, for topping
Strips of orange peel or thyme sprigs for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.


 In a small saucepan, combine the cream, 1/4 cup sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon stick. Roll the thyme strands back and forth between your palms, over the pan, to release the essential oils, then toss the thyme into the pan. Whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat and strain into a bowl to cool. (This step infuses the cream with the aromatics—the zest, thyme, and cinnamon.)

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and vanilla. When the infused cream is cooled to the touch, slowly pour it into the egg mixture and whisk to combine. (Cooling the cream avoids curdling the eggs.)


Place four 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups in a large baking dish or roasting pan. Carefully fill the ramekins with the custard mixture. Place the dish in the oven and carefully pour hot water into the pan, till it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake until the custard is set around the edges and slightly jiggly in the center, about 35 minutes.

Remove the baking dish from the oven. Lift out the ramekins—tongs work nicely—and cool on a rack at room temperature. (Don’t leave them in the hot water, as the heat would continue to cook the mixture.) When cool, move ramekins to refrigerator to chill for at least an hour before the next step.





Just before serving, sprinkle a teaspoon of turbinado sugar evenly over the top of each dish. Caramelize the sugar with a kitchen torch. The sugar will harden, turn golden, and become crunchy. If you don’t have a torch, broil the dishes 2 to 3 minutes until the sugar forms a crisp, golden top.

Garnish with a curvy strip of orange peel or a sprig of thyme.

Or a Scottie dog.

Serves 4.

Leave a comment below to be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of GUILTY AS CINNAMON; contest ends midnight, Wednesday, December 3. Please include your email address!

Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…

From the cover ...

Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.

Springtime in Seattle’s Pike Place Market means tasty foods and wide-eyed tourists, and Pepper’s Seattle Spice Shop is ready for the crowds. With flavorful combinations and a fresh approach, she’s sure to win over the public. Even better, she’s working with several local restaurants as their chief herb and spice supplier. Business is cooking, until one of Pepper’s potential clients, a young chef named Tamara Langston, is found dead, her life extinguished by the dangerously hot ghost chili—a spice Pepper carries in her shop.


Now stuck in the middle of a heated police investigation, Pepper must use all her senses to find out who wanted to keep Tamara’s new café from opening—before someone else gets burned…


Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.

87 comments:

  1. At this time of year, all our lives could use a little spicing up!
    taft.jane@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy Launch Day, Leslie! Oh, orange and cinnamon creme brulee, yummy! Definitely trying this.

    lola777_22 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Orange? Yeah! Cinnamon? Yeah! Creme Brûlée? Yeah! Yeah! I think I found my Christmas Eve dessert. I am excited about this book, too! kat8762@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christmas Eve dessert? Why didn't I think of that? Thanks for the suggestion!

      Delete
  4. Congratulations on your release! This sounds scrumptious! Thanks for the chance!
    angelhwk68@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Congrats on release day! Love the series and that cover is just too cute. And that is one yummy dessert for the holidays. Downloading the recipe right now. Thanks for the giveaway.
    sallycootie@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely a cover to make you hungry, isn't it? And I promise, Arf the Dog plays a critical role!

      Delete
  6. New book! New book! Yay! The recipe sounds lovely. My daughter was given one of those mini torches a few years ago, and neither of us has managed to make it work. Maybe it's time to try again!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Such a wonderful citrus twist on the classic crème brûlée dessert! And I'm definitely excited about the new book. EMS591@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Congrats on the release day, and thank you for the recipe!
    myrifraf(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  9. This recipe looks divine, but possibly a bit beyond my baking ability which runs more along the lines of pie and cookies. Dare I venture out of my comfort zone????
    Happy Release Day! !!! Looking forward to reading this book!!!
    ejbs3s@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jody, think of them as crustless custard pies! They're really quite simple -- just be careful with the hot water, and don't let them sit in the water bath once they seem done, b/c they can get overcooked that way. Try 'em!

      Delete
  10. I had crime brûlée once and liked it but can't have the dairy anymore.
    I'm looking foward to reading the new book.
    sgiden at verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  11. I made white chocolate crime brule once which was divine. I love orange deserts. suefoster109@netzero.net. Thank you for the give away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. White chocolate creme brulee? I'm swooning!

      Delete
  12. The recipe sounds yummy...and happy launch day! patucker54 (at aol dot com)

    ReplyDelete
  13. This recipe sounds wonderful! Foxyjoo at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  14. WOW this looks really good. Great looking book!! grandmatinaof2(at)gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I haven't read a book in this series, but sounds like fun! Thank you. jr_dj_gantt@juno.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love cinnamon---I think I'll try this recipe. Thanks for the contest.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love anything with cinnamon, I'll have to try this. Thanks for this amazing book giveaway, I do appreciate it. Linda May lindamay4852@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Happy Launch Day! Orange Creme Brulee looks wonderful

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. contact at: bckey76@comcast.net

      Delete
  19. I love reading and my favorite thing is mysterys. It would be swesome to win books.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love reading and my favorite thing is mysterys. It would be swesome to win books.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I should know better than to read this before breakfast (I've just finished my coffee). Now I'm really hungry. I wish I could have some now , along with your book.
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Congratulations on release day! This and the first one are on my Christmas wish list and Cleo's first in the Coffeehouse mystery series is on my shelf waiting for it's turn. I just wish I could read faster. Thanks for the chance to win!

    awilcox1182@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. Della at deepotter@peoplepc.com Looks like a good read. So am hoping. And congrats

    ReplyDelete
  24. Recipe sounds terrific! Book sounds even better!! Happy release day.
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love cinnamon! Happy launch day to you. Thank you for the chance to win. crossxjo@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. Happy launch day and thanks for sharing your recipe! Yummy!!!! Sherylhbooth@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. Cinnamon especially the roasted kind is my very favorite spice. Congratulations on you new release Ruth Nixon ruthenixon@sbcglobal.net

    ReplyDelete
  28. Congrats.....love to win. rhondajgothier@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. Creme brulee! Yum!
    Thyme is not something I would have thought of. Interesting.
    When steeping the flavors in the cream, they come to a boil and are immediately strained? No sitting around before the straining?

    Best wishes on your new book baby.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right -- the cream picks up the oils in the heating process. You could let it steep a little longer, but we didn't find it necessary, and I wonder if you might not get a little bitterness that way.

      Thanks for the good wishes -- I do love this book!

      Delete
  30. Leslie, I've always wanted a kitchen torch and this recipe makes me want one even more! This sounds super yummy and easy, thanks for sharing! Congratulations on the new release! :-) nicolev.girldetective@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  31. That recipe sounds terribly tempting and I have thyme growing in a planter on my balcony....
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thyme on your balcony -- you are set for yum!

      Delete
  32. This sounds so good...and I have a lot of the basics...this and your book so like the cover...Thanks for the contest.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks -- both my series have the same cover artist, and he's terrific!

      Delete
  33. This recipe looks delectable as does the wonderful book. Thanks for this great giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  34. How delightful to have this special recipe for the holidays. Congratulations on this captivating book. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  35. Congratulations on the new release. And this recipe looks yummy! Dm_richards@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. Congratulations on the new release. And this recipe looks yummy! Dm_richards@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. Pat (patdupuy@yahoo.com)December 1, 2015 at 2:59 PM

    I love creme brulee but have never tried to make one.

    ReplyDelete
  38. 2 new series! Congrats on the new releases! I've never had creme brulee but this looks yummy! Knapp.MP@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Sometimes you have to indulge!

    acm05atjuno.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. Congratulations on your launch day! The creme brûlée looks amazing -- I may have to invest in a kitchen torch (our broiler is finicky)! Thanks for the giveaway! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh pooh on that a finicky broiler! Here's hoping it decides to behave!

      Delete
  41. Wishing you a great launch day. Thanks for a chance to win a copy. elainehroberson@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  42. You got with "cinnamon" ! Would love to win this book!

    ReplyDelete
  43. It's been awhile since I've made Crème Brûlée. I like that this recipe includes orange and cinnamon.
    bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  44. There is nothing like the first tap on a creme brûlée--such a distinctive and delicious sound. I think this will be a holiday dessert.

    Congrats on your launch day. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. E-mail: cspod21 AT gmail.com

      Delete
    2. Oh, yes! Breaking that crust and getting the contrasting textures in the first spoonful -- yum! Now I'm really sorry I didn't make this for tonight!

      Delete
  45. I thought the French toast sounded good. Wow! This is even yummier. Bobbipad at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  46. congrats to Leslie & continued success!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!
    cannot wait to read this....

    cyn209 at juno dot com

    ReplyDelete
  47. Happy Launch Day!!!
    Thanks for the chance to win a signed copy!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  48. Congrats on release day Leslie! Thanks for the recipe, it sounds good enough that I may just have to try it out sometime soon. Thanks as well for the chance to win what sounds like a great book.

    robbfan141729@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  49. Exciting launch day! Love Mystery Cookbooks!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Recipe looks delish. Can't wait to read the book.
    diannekc8@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  51. Recipe looks delish. Can't wait to read the book.
    diannekc8@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  52. Happy launch day!
    lindaherold999@gmail.com!

    ReplyDelete
  53. The Scottie dog is the best finishing touch!
    jenne.turner@unt.edu

    ReplyDelete
  54. Both books look great! Congratulations!

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

    ReplyDelete
  55. Love the books and the recipes. So many recipes to choose from....yummy!

    ReplyDelete
  56. Your books are so complex and intriguing. And this recipe looks wonderful. Not sure any flame is good in my hands though, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kay. I like to think they can be read on several layers, and I hope you'll think GUILTY AS CINNAMON is the best yet. And that you'll see the connection to the torch -- safe brulee-ing!

      Delete
  57. I love creme brulee but I don't think I would be good at making it. utaker555@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  58. Cree brûlée is a favourite!

    Would love to read this book!

    littleone
    AT shaw
    Dot Ca

    ReplyDelete
  59. So enjoy reading this series, and always yummy recipes. Looking forward to reading on a cold Winter's day or night!

    ReplyDelete
  60. I love both series and they are on my Kindle and ready to read!

    And, orange and cinnamon and crème brûlée...what could be better!

    harbingerdc(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  61. Orange and cinnamon is a great combo, almost as good as my favorite; orange and chocolate! Congrats on your newest release :)
    kimheniadis(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  62. What a tempting recipe!!! I may have to stop tracking my Weight Watchers Points and dive in!!!! Thank you!!! Happy Launch Day!!!! fitzpatrick.lynn@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  63. You can't go wrong with cinnamon and orange, especially for the holidays. Thanks for the recipe and introduction to the new book. robeader53@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  64. Congrats on book and thank you for the recipe!
    afarage (at) earthlink dot net

    ReplyDelete
  65. The book looks great and I love cinnamon. plhill2000(at)gmaildotcom

    ReplyDelete
  66. I love cinnamon! The book sounds great! janiemarie at centurylink dot net

    ReplyDelete
  67. Wow, looks like great cozy mystery.
    xzjh04 @ gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  68. would love to win one of your books..............

    ReplyDelete
  69. Congratulations to Nicole Vickers -- and thanks to all of you for being part of the Kitchen crew!

    ReplyDelete
  70. I love cinnamon and this sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

    ReplyDelete
  71. I love this series. Recipe sounds yummy

    kaye dot killgore at comcast dot net

    ReplyDelete
  72. Thanks for having the book give away.Cover looks great.

    ReplyDelete