Secret Recipe: Dirty Habit's Vanilla Cremeux


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Chronicle critic Michael Bauer practically lost his mind over Dirty Habit pastry chef Francis Ang's vanilla cremeux, and it's no surprise—Ang’s elegant Fifth Floor desserts have been made slightly more approachable with the restaurant's new concept, but no less delicious, and the creamy indulgence is a prime example.

Vanilla Cremeux with Olive Oil and Strawberries

Serves 6

19 ounces heavy cream

3 ½ ounces sugar

1 ½ sheets gelatin

1 vanilla bean

6 egg yolks

1 teaspoon salt


Store bought or homemade shortbread, crumbled

Sea salt (to taste)

1 pound strawberries

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra to drizzle over finished dish)

1.    Place gelatin in ice water, and let it soak until it has absorbed the water and is soft (about 10 minutes).
2.    Pour heavy cream into a pan and heat on stovetop on medium heat.
3.    While the cream is heating, split the vanilla pod using a pairing knife and scrape the beans into the cream. (Tip: save the pod in a jar of sugar to create vanilla sugar. Save that for another project!).
4.    Steep the vanilla beans in cream for 30 minutes and strain into a bowl. Set aside.
5.    Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a stand mixer until well incorporated and pale yellow in color. Set mixture aside.
6.    Remove gelatin from ice water.
7.    On stovetop, bring vanilla cream to a boil and then remove from heat.
8.    Add the gelatin to the vanilla cream and combine well.
9.    Slowly drizzle contents into the mixer containing the egg and sugar.

10. Pour the entire mixture into a small pot and cook on low heat, stirring simultaneously, until it reaches 180 degrees.  

11. Pour the cremeux (final mixture) into small individual bowls or one large flat bowl. Note: to have a proper ratio of cremeux to garnishes, fill bowl or bowls to ½-inch thick.

12. Quarter strawberries and place into a bowl.

13. Add sugar and olive oil, and macerate until the strawberries are soft.

14. Garnish the cremeux with the macerated strawberries, your favorite shortbread (crumbled), and a light a pinch of sea salt.

15. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.