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Champagne and Grape Creme Brulee

From: Chef Malachi Harlan, Chef's Table, Fresno, CA. Yield: 4 servings.

5 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 cups heavy cream
3/4-1 cup Champagne
1 vanilla bean (or 11/2 tsp. vanilla extract)
1 or 2 Tbsp. butter, cold
20 red or green California seedless grapes, halved
as desired, for garnish, cluster of sugar-frosted grapes

In a bowl, combine egg yolks, whole egg, sugar and cornstarch. In a mediumsized pot, combine cream, Champagne and vanilla and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk 1/2 cup of this hot liquid into the egg mixture, stirring constantly to temper. Then add tempered egg mixture to cream mixture remaining in the pot. Lower heat to low and then whisk mixture until thick. Strain and then whisk in 1 to 2 Tbsp. cold butter. Place grapes in flameproof ramekins and then pour mixture over grapes. Allow to set. Before serving, sprinkle each ramekin evenly with one tsp. sugar, then move blowtorch flame evenly back and forth until sugar is caramelized.

Note: Because of the grapes, this recipe is not made in the conventional way by baking.