Christiane’s Creme Brûlée Recipe at Takhini River Lodge in the Yukon Territories
It was Follow Me Foodie to the Yukon and I was hosted at the Takhini River Lodge which is a cozy, quaint and elegant bed and breakfast 40 km north of downtown Whitehorse. It offers an incredible view of the Northern Lights, but the food is also an unique aspect of what makes the lodge so special.
Besides breakfast and home made madeleines all day, they offer a 3 course home cooked dinner option for their guests ($49/person, must give 24 hours notice). Since it’s located 45 minutes to an hour away from downtown, and there are no restaurants around, they make it convenient for guests to eat at the lodge.
Christiane is the owner and cook at Takhini River Lodge – read my full story on her and the lodge here. It’s a “read it to believe it story”.
On Christiane’s Dinner Table
The dining area is communal and you can eat with other guests, or have your own private table.
Christiane serves a casual, but sophisticated 3 course menu made from scratch – see mine here. She bakes her own bread, makes her own dressings and sauces, and grows her own culinary herbs. She is not a trained chef, but she has taken some cooking classes in the past. It is not necessarily her passion, but she enjoys it. The recipes are either tried, tested, and true, or inspired by recipe books.
She changes the menu everyday especially if she has a guest staying more than one night. The other guest staying here for 6 nights had a different 3 course menu every night and she never got tired of Christiane’s food, which is great!
On the table:
Christiane’s Homemade Bread – She makes a white bread and a rye bread and she can accommodate gluten-free food allergies, or any other dietary concerns (given advanced notice).
They do not offer wine pairings, but they have wines by the bottle or glass for additional charge. How appropriate it was to have an Alsace wine to pair with my home cooked French dinner.
Fleischschnaka (Takhini River Lodge Alsatian chicken rolls) with gingerbread spiced cranberry sauce – recipe here. It was served over a bed of organic field greens and blackberries with Fireweed flower vinaigrette.
Salmon spiced with cumin and ginger, in a pea sauce, with locally grown Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.
Christiane’s signature “La Crème Brulée”
The casual dinner was still more effort than what one would do on a regular night. The style is country side French with a bit of eclectic Canadian influence, and she uses local ingredients where possible. She gets most of her vegetables from her neighbour who does farming (they don’t farm at Takhini), and then everything else will be what’s available at the market that day.
She plays the menu by ear, but she does have some signatures like her creme brûlée and beef bourguignon. I like to think her Fleischschnaka is one too because that’s a regional specialty that is very rare to find outside of Alsace.
Christiane’s all time favourite dessert is creme brûlée, so she spent some time working on this recipe. Originally she used a Paul Bocuse recipe, but for some reason it didn’t work out too well (shocking). She took some suggestions from one of her guests and now it comes out the way she likes it.
I actually found it quite soft and liquid-y rather than creamy and custardy which is apparently what she was trying to avoid. I prefer a thicker creme brûlée and this was almost like a flan (jello like) and I was surprised it only used egg yolks. I expected the texture to be thicker, but perhaps it didn’t set. Her recipe also doesn’t require the creme brûlée to cook in a water bath which is unusual.
Anyway, Christiane was kind enough to share her recipe for her signature creme brûlée – a classic French dessert meaning “burnt cream”.
La Crème brulée
- 2 cup (500ml) 2% Milk
- 2 cup (500ml) 35%Cream
- 10 egg yolk
- 120 g white granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 210°F (100°C).
- Pour cream and milk into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to boil. Remove the mixture from heat immediately.
- Whisk yolks and sugar in a large bowl until dissolved.
- Slowly whisk in the milk mixture and avoid getting it foamy.
- Pour the hot mixture into individual serving dishes or ramekins and place in a baking dish.
- Set the baking dish with the ramekins in it on your oven rack and bake for 1 hour at 210°F until the cream is set. Baking time could be longer depending on the ovens. They are done when you shake the dish gently and the brulées jiggle just slightly in the middle. The jiggle shouldn’t be a liquid jiggle, but more of a gelatin-like jiggle.
- Remove from oven and let cool down at room temperature then refrigerate for a few hours.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the tops with white granulated sugar.
- Place under broiler until caramelized or use a culinary torch to burn the tops.