Is there anything more retro than marshmallow creme? Maybe a JELL-O mold? Baked Alaska? Tuna-noodle casserole? Or perhaps those paper frills that cover the bones on roasts? Classic! I love that line in the movie Julie & Julia, where French author, Simone Beck, disdainfully questions, “What is Marshmallow Fluff?” as she reads recipes from the pioneering cookbook Joy of Cooking. Although marshmallow creme is exceedingly passé and über unhealthy, it still holds a special place in my heart. For most of my childhood, I feasted on the almighty Fluffernutter, a sandwich combining peanut butter and marshmallow creme. With all of that sugar pumping through my tiny veins, it’s no wonder I still had enough energy to drive my family absolutely nuts after soccer or gymnastics practices.
I’m fully aware that the outdated marshmallow creme and the classically posh crème brûlée are not commonly acquainted. In fact, this culinary combination is the sartorial equivalent of wearing tie dye with a Birkin bag. Nonetheless, my idea to make vanilla marshmallow crème brûlée came to me while roasting marshmallows, where it was my goal to meticulously burn the exterior in order to mimic the crisp top layer of crème brûlée.
My vanilla marshmallow crème brûlée is definitely classier than it is dated. The overly processed jet-puffed marshmallow creme gives way to the silky vanilla custard for a smooth and decadent treat that any Fluffernutter fan would be powerless to resist.
Vanilla Marshmallow Crème Brûlée
Yields 6 servings
1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
6 egg yolks
½ cup marshmallow creme
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bring the cream, split vanilla bean, and vanilla seeds just to a boil in a pot over medium heat. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks with marshmallow creme and beat until smooth. Remove the split vanilla bean from the cream. Slowly incorporate the cream into the egg mixture while continually whisking. Pour into 6 (8-ounce) ramekins and place them in a roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins, creating a water bath.
Bake for 45-50 minutes so that the crème brûlées are set but still a bit wobbly in the middle, and then remove them from the water bath. Refrigerate them for a few hours or overnight. Before serving, sprinkle each ramekin with a thin layer of sugar and caramelize using either the oven broiler or kitchen blow torch. If broiling, keep an eye on them and rotate as necessary. You may also need to refrigerate them for a few hours in order to reset the crème brûlées. Serve with fresh fruit, whipped cream, toasted marshmallows, or all of the above and enjoy!
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