A Christmassy spin on a traditional creme brulee.
1½ tbsp bourbon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
75g castor sugar
8 egg yolks
rapadura or brown sugar, to scatter
Bourbon and vanilla laced cherries
¾ cup fresh cherries
1 tbsp bourbon
1 tsp vanilla bean extract
1. Preheat the oven to 115C.
2. Combine the milk, cream, mixed spice, bourbon and vanilla paste in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then set aside to cool slightly.
3. Whisk the castor sugar and yolks together until light and creamy and pour the warm cream over; whisking constantly.
4. Strain through a fine sieve into a shallow 1.5-litre capacity oven-proof dish. Stand dish in a roasting pan and pour enough water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until just set. Check on it from about 45 minutes, it should look firm but still have a wobble to it when you jiggle the baking dish. Lift the dish from the water bath and cool slightly, then refrigerate until chilled completely (at least 90 minutes).
5. For the vanilla and bourbon cherries, halve and pit some of the cherries and leave the others whole. Combine the fruit with the bourbon and vanilla extract in a bowl, gently turning. Set aside for 30 minutes.
6. Just before serving, sprinkle the rapadura sugar over the cooled custard and caramelise the sugar using a blowtorch. Alternatively, place the baking dish under a grill for a few minutes to caramelise, taking care as the sugar can burn quickly. Cool until the toffee has set and serve with the boozy macerated cherries. (Note: If you use the grill method, allow the pudding to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.)