It is that time of year again, the annual Canadian Lentil contest! I use lentils year round so am always excited about this contest! I also look forward to it as it pushes me to think outside of the box as to how I can use lentils.
For the dessert round I am going fancy. It is actually the first time I have ever made Crème Brulee. It is quick and easy yet is such a striking elegant dessert.
Now from the reading I have done one of the best parts of creme brulee is the hard sugar layer you crack through to get to the creamy custard. My thoughts were to take this layer up a notch. I set forth to make a batch of maple candied lentils to go on top of the maple custard.
You can make the lentils while the creme brulee is cooling in the fridge.
2 1/4 cups (560 ml) 35% cream
1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla
5 egg yolks
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of sugar for the finishing of the crème brulee
1/2 cup of crispy maple lentils
Preheat the oven to 325 ºF. In a saucepan, heat the cream for 5 minutes with the maple syrup and vanilla.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Stir in the hot cream. Pour the mixture into four 3/4 cup crème brulee dishes.
Bake in a water bath. To do this, place the dishes in a baking dish. Pour hot water 3/4 up the sides of the dishes. Bake for 40 minutes.
Let cool and refrigerate to chill completely.
To finish sprinkle with the additional sugar and caramelize quickly with a kitchen torch.
Once the sugar layer has been torched and it still sticky sprinkle with a layer of the crispy maple lentils.
Maple Candied Red Lentils
2 cups of red lentils
3 1/2 cups of water
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of butter
1/4 cup of maple syrup
Place the lentils and water into a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil and cook for 8-9 minutes testing around the 7 minute mark. You do not want to over cook the lentils, soft with a bit of bite is the goal here. Once they are cooked strain in a fine mesh strainer.
Place back into the pot with the butter, sugar and syrup an cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
Strain again with the fine mesh strainer and allow to cool.
Once cool spread the lentils on two parchment lined cookie sheets to the thin layer. Place in a 325 ºF oven. Check every 10 minutes stirring the lentils and rotating the pans between the shelves. Once they start to brown turn the oven off and let the lentils finish drying.
Store in a covered container.
You can use Candied Maple Lentils in granola, on salads or anywhere you want to add a touch of crunch to.