Ghoa Cress, Lemon and Cacao Crème Brulée

Xoco Gourmet 100% cocoa mass adds a burst of cocoa richness to this brulee, with the complex citrus of Ghoa Cress and lemon to balance, creating a creamy but refreshing dessert, contrasted by a crunch of cocoa nib caramel.

Ingredients and method


Ingredients for brulée - 6 portions 

  • 360g whipping cream 
  • 20g water 
  • Juice (90g) and zest of 2 lemons  
  • 6 punnets Ghoa Cress - trimmed 
  • 80g Xoco Gourmet 100% cocoa mass 
  • 120g egg yolks (approximately 6 yolks) 
  • 60g coconut sugar (or vanilla caster sugar) 

Ingredients for Caramel and Cocoa Nib Dust 

  • 100g white sugar 
  • 15g water 
  • Xoco Gourmet cocoa nibs to sprinkle 


Method for brulée 

  • Place the cream, water, lemon juice, zest and Ghoa Cress in a pan. Bring to the boil, take off the heat, immediately cover with cling film to capture the vapour. Leave to infuse for an hour.
  • Lay out a lipped metal roasting tray, the ramekins and boil the kettle. Place the cocoa mass in to a jug.
  • Whisk egg yolks and coconut sugar together in a bowl. Reheat the infused cream up to steaming point, then whisk this mix on to the egg yolks and sugar. Pass this over the cocoa mass in the jug, squeezing out as much flavour as possible from the cress. Use a hand blender to incorporate the chocolate.
  • Pre-heat oven to 150C. Pour boiling water into the roasting tray (to come about ¾ way up the depth of the brulée ramekins).
  • Fill each of the ramekins with brulée mix nearly to the top and place in the water bath then into the oven, lower the temperature to 140C (if it looks like it is getting bubbly on the top as it begins to cook, open the oven door to let some of the heat out, and lower the oven temperature). 
  • Cook the brulées for around 1 hour, until 75C in the center (time will depend on depth and size of brulée dishes). Check frequently to make sure they are not overheating. Carefully take them out of the water bath once cooked.
  • Chill them in the fridge for a few hours or overnight until required. 

Method for caramel dust 

  • Place the water and sugar in a pan, bring gradually to the boil without stirring (just swirl the pan), and continue to boil until it becomes a rich amber caramel colour.  
  • Pour caramel on to a flat tray lined with a silicone mat. Let cool and set.  
  • Blitz in a small grinder and keep in an airtight box until required. 
  • To serve, sprinkle a few cocoa nibs on each of the brulées and sieve caramel dust over the top. Clear off excess caramel dust from the top lip of the ramekins and then flame with a gas blowtorch to melt the caramel. Let cool so the caramel is crisp and serve immediately. 

Recipe: Shona Sutherland

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