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Hazelnut-Mocha Creme Brulee

Cocoa-Dusted Pecans, Nutella & Shortbread Sandwich

The Van Horn Dining Room was reviewed today on Simon and Baker Travel Review.  The review is positive and (if I do say so) insightful, and includes the observation that our Hazelnut-Mocha Creme Brulee is among the best in the country.  It’s always nice to hear positive feedback, superlatives especially.

For those inclined to imitation, I thought I’d post the recipe.  It’s really quite simple.  A word of warning, however:  taken directly from our “working” recipe book, this is an industrial-sized recipe that will yield about 12 portions.  Unfortunately, it will not scale easily, nor do custards freeze well.  Those inclined to undertake it will likely need to plan a party concurrently.

Hazelnut-Mocha Creme Brulée


3 whole eggs

12 egg yolks

4 oz. dark chocolate

16 oz. cream

12 oz. half and half

6 oz. sugar

1 packet Via coffee (Starbuck’s Instant)

1 oz. hazelnut oil

¼ t plain salt


1. Put several quarts of water on the range to heat: use this hot water for your bain marie

2. Select a sauce pot and stainless steel bowl that fit together EXACTLY with no overhanging surface – fill the pot with a few inches of water and set over a VERY low flame

3. Add to the bowl: dark chocolate, half and half, sugar, via coffee (this is your mocha ganache)

4. Set combined ingredients over simmering water and warm VERY gently, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth

5. In a separate bowl, combine: cream, eggs, yolks, hazelnut oil and whisk smooth

6. Once ganache is melted and smooth, slowly pour it into the egg and cream mixture, stirring to combine

7. Arrange creme brulée dishes in a flat-bottomed 2 in. hotel pan; pour 6 ounces of creme brulée batter into each (excess batter may be labeled, dated and stored under refrigeration up to 3 days)

8. Wrap the pan in foil, securing the foil on 3 sides only

9. Transfer to a pre-heated, 300 degree still oven

10. Carefully and slowly fill the hotel pan with hot water so that it comes 2/3rds of the way up the sides of the brulée dishes – do not overfill! it is dangerous and you’re very likely to ruin your brulées with sloshing water

11. bake at 300 degrees for 40 min – 1 hour until the custard is 90% set – it should jiggle only slightly in the center when tapped

12. remove from the oven, uncover and allow to cool before wrapping and labeling each brulée individually

13. store under refrigeration up to 3 days