butterscotch crème caramel
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Butterscotch Crème Caramel
Gwen Ashley Walters
January, 2012, Page 155
Photo by David Moore
Travis Watson has cooked professionally for 25 years, toggling between savory and sweet. In his current job as the executive pastry chef at T. Cook’s at the Royal Palms Resort, he’s firmly back on the sweet side and riffing on old-school desserts.
“I like to do traditional desserts you’ve heard of but just have never seen interpreted like this before,” he says.
Consider his new butterscotch crème caramel ($13). Unlike a traditional French crème caramel, a cousin of Spanish flan, Watson presents it in a tiny Le Creuset pot instead of unmolded on a plate.
The creamy custard is a mix of whole eggs, half and half, cream, vanilla, sugar and salt. Instead of granulated sugar, Watson uses brown sugar, giving the custard a soft beige glow and synthesizing the flavor of butterscotch. A dash of Baileys Irish Cream adds another layer of flavor.
Instead of cooking the caramel with the custard in the traditional fashion, Watson cooks the custard first, then pours a salted, buttery caramel infused with scotch over the top. A sprinkling of Madagascar vanilla bean-infused Pop Rocks on top of the caramel shine like crystals and fizzle on the tongue.
Served on the side, classic dark chocolate ganache-smeared French macarons get a Watson-twist, too, filled with house-made marshmallow fluff. Dip them into the salted caramel and then bite into the delicate crunch.
(Royal Palms Resort and Spa)
5200 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
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