Parmesan Crème Brûlée

September 23, 2010

Stolen with permission from Chef Simone Bonelli, this unusual appetizer recipe is sure to be a delight when you create it in your own kitchen!

Stolen with permission from Chef Simone Bonelli, this unusual appetizer recipe is sure to be a delight when you create it in your own kitchen!

At Perbacco, located in New York’s East Village, Chef Bonelli takes classic Italian ingredients and playfully spins them into new and innovative dishes. Examples from the menu show this unique perspective: an appetizer of Fichi Sedano Gorgonzola e Prosciutto - grilled and caramelized half figs served with mascarpone and gorgonzola mousse in a port wine reduction, served with a celery stick and prosciutto gelatin; an entrée - Agnello con Carciofi -breaded and deep fried lamb loin served with artichokes prepared in three different ways; as a sauce, fried and braised. Even the salad course has unique combinations: Insalata Mista con Noci e Miele is a mixed green salad with walnuts, honey and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. And for dessert, why not try Yogurt Insanity? It’s a layered yogurt composition with soft lemon biscuit, candied orange slice, yogurt mousse, citrus gelatin and white chocolate glaze.

‘Perbacco’ translates to ‘wow’ in Italian, which may just be the most used word in Perbacco’s dining room – if you are in New York, stop by for some culinary surprises… as Frank Bruni described in his two-star New York Times review in 2008, “This humble setting in the far East Village is a trove of surprises, of dishes that don’t duplicate anything anywhere else in Manhattan.”

About the chef: Simone Bonelli grew up in Modena, Italy, where early exposure to different foods like gnocco fritto, (a fried Italian delicacy with fresh cold cuts), influenced his early passion for the culinary arts. 
His first chef job was at a small hotel restaurant in the very small city of Correggio, which helped fortify his passion and gave him the drive to attend culinary school.

Afterwards he worked at a larger restaurant where he met his future mentor, Massimo Bottura, chef of the acclaimed Osteria La Francescana in Modena - which the eponymous ‘San Pellegrino World’s Best’ list has consistently called the best restaurant in Italy and the sixth best restaurant in the world.

Shortly after meeting, Bottura took Bonelli under his wing and gave him the culinary education of a lifetime, imbuing him with the skills necessary for his avant-garde success at New York City’s Perbacco.

234 East 4th Street 
New York, 10009
212 253 2038

Parmesan Crème Brûlée is served at Perbacco for $11. 
This recipe makes 4 to 6 restaurant servings.

Parmesan Crème Brûlée Ingredients:
2 ¾ cups cream 
1 ¾ cups milk 
2 ¾ cups parmesan cheese 
10 egg yolks
Balsamic vinegar (about 1 cup)
4-6 teaspoons sugar

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions:
Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
Heat the cream and the milk in a pot. 
Right before the mixture starts to boil, add the Parmesan cheese. 
Mix in the cheese, and stir until all of it is melted. 
Then lower the temperature for about a minute before adding the egg yolks. 
Make sure the eggs go in when the temperature is at less than 185 degrees, otherwise they will cook unevenly. 
Once the eggs are all mixed in, take the mixture off the stove and divide the liquid between 4 to 6 small ramekins. 
Cook in the oven in a water bath for about 45 minutes. You will know they are ready when a light brown film appears on top. 
While the Parmesan Crème Brûlées are cooling prepare the Balsamic Vinaigrette by pouring the balsamic vinegar into a saucepan and heating over low heat on the stove until it reduces into a syrup.
After letting the brûlées cool for about 15 to 20 minutes, put a small spoonful of brown sugar on top of each.
Once the sugar is spread evenly on top, burn with a torch, and top with the Balsamic Vinaigrette Reduction. 
Please note – if you do not have a brûlée torch you can burn the tops of the brûlées under the broiler.

The following nutritional analysis is for (1) restaurant size serving.

Nutrient NameNutrient ValueUnitDaily Value %
Calories 750       
Calories from Fat 550       
Total Fat 62    g   95% 
Saturated Fat 37    g   185% 
Trans Fat 0   g    
Cholesterol 545   mg   182% 
Sodium 800    mg   33% 
Carbohydrates 19    g   6% 
Dietary Fiber 0   g   0% 
Sugars 13    g    
Protein 27    g    
Vitamin A    IU   45% 
Vitamin C    mg   2% 
Calcium    mg   70% 
Iron    mg   8% 
 Nutritional information provided by