As a child, Sabine Hueck would take the three-hour bus journey through the jungle to Peuríbe, which, at that time, resembled a picture-book seaside.
Unlike her friends, who just spent their days on the water, Sabine had a special reason for her visits: her Grandmother and the bakery. She spent every weekend, when it was possible, in that small coastal town where she listened to all of her Grandmother’s wonderful stories and could lend a hand in the kitchen.
Sabine’s devoted parents hoped that they could encourage her to enter a profession and had often pushed the idea of Medicine or Natural Sciences, but with little success. Sabine knew from when she was young that she wanted to be a chef. This conflict could be the greatest influence upon Sabine’s cooking: her grandfather’s Science versus her grandmother’s Sachertorte.
Today, in Schoneberg, Sabine’s apartment smells of melted sugar, coconut and also a little fruit. She is sharing with us a recipe that comes from her childhood repertoire. With a light tap, Sabine’s spoon breaks through the golden sheen of melted sugar and dives into the smooth cream below. This dessert is known by many different names around the world. In Germany, it’s known as Bayrische Crème, in France, Crème Brûlée and in Spain it is Crema Catalana, For those who came to Brazil from Portugal, they would make it with coconut milk. Sabine’s name for this variation is “Crème Brûlée de Coco”.
Ingredients (for 4 people)
- 1 6 egg yolks
- 2 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 3 70g sugar
- 4 200ml coconut milk (preferably from a carton)
- 5 200ml cream
- 6 Brown raw sugar, for caramelizing
- 7 4 oven-safe ramekins
- Cut open and de-seed the vanilla pod. Place the pith in a bowl and mix well with some of the sugar.
- Add in the egg yolks, the rest of the sugar and stir until the mixture is light yellow.
- Stir the cream and coconut milk together; then incorporate into the mixture and whisk.
- Put coconut-cream mixture in the ramekins.
- Put the filled ramekins on a deep tray, and place in an oven that is preheated to 150C.
- Pour enough hot water into the tray so that the ramekins are standing half-submerged in water.
- Leave them to thicken for 35 mins in the middle of the oven.
- Take them out, leave them to cool and then stand them in the fridge.
- To serve, spread 1 tsp of brown sugar over each of the Brûlées and caramelize, either with a blowtorch or under the grill in the oven.
Sabine Hueck runs regular cooking classes and events at her Atelier Culinário in Berlin.
Photography & Text: Carina Adam