Grand Circle’s Corporate Executive Chef, Christian Seegatz, recently shared the secret to Grand Circle’s deliciously wonderful European River Cruise menus: our very own culinary school.
And since Grand Circle travelers can’t stop raving about the tasty meals they’ve enjoyed aboard our ships—from simple appetizers to decadently rich desserts, Christian has shared two of Grand Circle’s sweeter dishes—including recipes for brioche and crème brûlée—served aboard our The Seine: Paris to Normandy River Cruise. Whether you’re starting your day with a warm brioche, or ending an already perfect meal with a velvety smooth crème brûlée, these treats are sure to get you in touch with your inner French side …
A typical French bread, brioche is a part of many meals prepared by famous French chefs. A traditional brioche is eaten with jam for breakfast, and also goes well with smoked fish and salads. Brioche is a common item on the dessert plate when filled with cream.
2 cups flour
5 Tbs. softened butter
Enough yeast for 2 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup milk
Approximately 2 egg yolks
2 tsp. salt
- Combine yeast with warm milk, and add sugar and a bit of flour.
- In a separate bowl, warm up the butter, and add eggs and salt. Mix slightly and add to the flour mixture. Combine more of the flour and continue mixing. (If it is necessary, add more flour.) You can mix the dough with a machine if easier. The dough is ready when it stops sticking to your hands.
- Leave the dough in a warm area covered with a towel until it rises (about 10-15 minutes).
- Knead the dough a little more before forming each brioche. You should be able to construct about 35 brioches. Brush each with beaten egg yolks.
- Place the dough in a pre-heated 350°F oven for twelve minutes.
- Increase the quality of your dough by allowing the yeast to settle one to three hours.
- Let the dough rest overnight instead of few hours in the fridge.
Yield: About 35 brioche.
The origins of crème brûlée are very much in contention—with the English, Spanish, and French all staking claim. The Spanish have taken credit for this sensuous custard as crema catalana since the 18th century, while the English claim it originated in 17th-century Britain, where it was known as “burnt cream”—and English schoolboys attending Cambridge University demanded it. It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that the common usage of the French translation came into vogue, putting it on the map from Paris to Le Cirque in New York City. Today, its wide recognition seems to have given the French credit for inventing crème brûlée.
2 ¾ cups heavy cream
2 ¾ cups milk
8 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or one vanilla pod)
Brown sugar to caramelize
- Put ¾ cup of the cream in a saucepan with milk, sugar, and vanilla. Bring to a boil slowly, stirring the entire time.
- Whisk the rest of the cream and egg yolks together, and add to the milk and sugar mixture.
- Warm the mixture, but don’t bring it to a boil.
- Divide the liquid into six ramekins (or custard cups).
- Place these into a bain-marie (a large pan filled with one to two inches of water) and bake in a preheated 225°F oven until the liquid has set around the edges, but still loose in the center (about two hours).
- Remove the ramekins from the oven and allow to cool down for at least two hours.
- Sprinkle with two teaspoons of brown sugar. Burn the sugar using a hand-held torch. Or, you can place each ramekin under a broiler until the sugar melts.
- Re-chill the custards for a few minutes before serving.
Indulge in tasty French treats like these—and other local delicacies—on our The Seine: Paris to Normandy River Cruise.