As if Sunday’s return of Showtime’s popular slasher series Dexter wasn’t sweet enough, pastry chef Sarah Magoon of Fort Lauderdale hot spot Steak 954 has created a dessert recipe inspired by the show.
Magoon got the idea for her Dexter-themed dessert – a cheesecake brulée topped with any berry compote – from the show s opening sequence.
“The presentation reminded me of when Michael C. Hall is going through his morning routine of cooking eggs and cutting open a blood orange,” she told PEOPLE. “There are all of these different things, especially food-wise, that are reminiscent of blood splatters.”
But Magoon’s culinary creation is as much about taste as it is presentation.
“The goal of the Dexter dessert was balance: It’s creamy and crunchy, and sweet and tart,” she explains. “The sauce splatter is just fun, and looks slightly different every time, which is exciting.”
Makes four 6 oz. servings
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 1 vanilla bean
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• 1½ teaspoon powdered gelatin
• 1 ½ tablespoon cold water
• 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
• 2 oz. creme fraiche, room temperature
• 4 egg yolks, reserve the leftover egg whites for your breakfast or another use
• 1 whole egg
• ¼ teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream and the sugar. Using a paring knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the cream and sugar mixture; also add the whole pod.
3. Over medium heat, gently bring cream to a simmer, being careful not to boil. Remove the cream from the heat and set aside for 20 minutes to infuse the vanilla flavor into the mixture.
4. Pour cold water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the water to bloom (activate), and set aside.
5. Return the cream mixture back to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, turn off the heat and add the cream cheese, creme fraiche and gelatin. Using a hand blender or a whisk, blend together to melt. You want most of the lumps of cream cheese and creme fraiche to dissolve.
6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the whole eggs. Using a ladle, slowly start adding the warm cream mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly to raise the temperature of the eggs to prevent scrambling. Add all of the cream to the eggs to make a loose custard. Strain this through a fine mesh strainer into a large pitcher and add the salt last.
7. Place ramekins in a 13x9x2 baking dish. Divide custard evenly between the ramekins and place in the oven. Fill the baking dish with warm water, half way up the sides of the ramekins to form a water bath. Loosely cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. The custards, when wiggled, should be slightly loose but not too runny. Refrigerate the Custards for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
Any Berry Compote
For this recipe, you can use any berry: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or you can mix them all. Cherries are good too!
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• ½ vanilla bean
• 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
• 2 cups berry or berries of your choice
• 1 ounce Brandy
• juice of 1 lemon
• 1½ teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
1. In a very clean, medium saucepan, combine the sugar, the ½ vanilla bean (seeds scraped out), corn syrup and enough water to moisten and cover the sugar. With a clean, wet pastry brush, wipe down the sides of the pan so there are no sugar crystals up the sides of the pan. This prevents the sugar from re-crystallizing once it is melted (that can cause a gritty texture).
2. Place sugar mixture over medium high heat. Do not stir. Bring up to a boil, and when the sugar starts to caramelize, carefully swirl the pan for even cooking. Once the sugar is a nice amber color, turn off the heat.
3. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, carefully add half of the berries, Brandy and lemon juice. The caramel will harden up. This is okay because the heat will dissolve it. Return to medium heat, stirring occasionally to loosen up the caramel. Once all of the caramel is dissolved and the mixture is boiling, turn off the heat and carefully remove the vanilla bean. Strain this berry mixture through a fine mesh strainer and set the strained, cooked berries aside and pour the juice back into the pan.
4. Bring the juice back up to a boil. Whisk in the cornstarch liquid, and boil for three minutes. Remove from heat and add the cooked berries and the rest of the fresh berries. Refrigerate until cool. This will keep for up to a week and it is also amazing on waffles or pancakes.
To assemble the dessert
Sprinkle the tops of the finished custards with a even layer of raw sugar and caramelize the tops using a mini creme brulée torch. Top each one with some of the berry compote and serve with your favorite paper-thin cookie, like ginger thins.