Strawberry Crème Brûlée

Jimmy MacMillan's Strawberry Crème Brûlée. Photo by Julie MacMillan.

Executive Pastry Chef Jimmy MacMillan’s dessert featuring tonka bean and lychee rose gelato.


Yield: 28 servings 

Strawberry Crème Brûlée with Tonka Bean:

1. Boil cream with shaved tonka and vanilla bean.

2. Whisk together yolks and sugar. Temper cream into yolks. Strain and add vanilla extract and strawberry puree. Cool with wand and store in refrigerator. 

3. Pour into mold or vessel. Bake at 200°F (no water bath required).

Lychee Rose Gelato:

Warm milk. Combine powdered ingredients. Add powdered ingredients to milk and bring to 185°F (85°C). Cool quickly; add lychee puree and rose water. Process in gelato batch freezer.

Strawberries with Mint:

1. Cut strawberries in rounds approximately ¼” thick.

2. Blend mint and simple syrup. Pour over strawberries to macerate. Reserve for plating.

Cacao Nibs in Sugar:

1. Combine all ingredients and place into a pressure cooker. Cook for 1 ½ hours. 

2. Drain well and lay out onto a half sheet try and air-dry for 3 hours.

Meringue Sticks:

1. Combine all ingredients except maltodextrin and xanthan gum in stand mixer with whip attachment. Whip for 5-8 minutes. Combine maltodextrin and xanthan gum in small bowl and add to lychee mixture. Whip to full volume. 

2. Pipe 3” x ¼” sticks onto prepared acetate sheets. Dehydrate at 165°F for 12-15 hours. Reserve.


Caramelize the top of a Strawberry Crème Brûlée using crystal sugar and a propane torch. Add six pieces of strawberries with mint around base and top of crème brûlée. Sprinkle some cacao nibs and arrange five meringue sticks around plate. Add two fresh lychee pieces and two pieces of citrus lace. Serve with a single scoop of lychee gelato.


Click here to read more about this and related recipes in the article "Material Handling: Summer Sweets 16."