GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

July 24, 2013

Pat's Kitchen: A classic Creme Brulee

Homemade crème brulee can taste as good as what you find in the restaurants.

Baking individual custards was very popular in the 1940’s and 50’s. The difference here is the sugar topping which is caramelized with a torch until it is crispy, called “burning the sugar.”

Now we have a dessert that will make it to the “Hall of Fame.” Just recently I saw that they are selling flavored sugar toppings for brulees, such as raspberry and praline.

I first tried Crème Brulee when in Kansas for a family wedding. Four of the evenings we were there we would meet at a different restaurant for supper. That first night my sister-in-law suggested we try a crème brulee for dessert. We ordered one with 2 spoons and shared it. I was hooked and each night thereafter we would share a crème brulee to end our meal. They are delicious and light and absolutely went perfectly with my after dinner coffee.

In regards to the torch, the consensus is that a small propane torch purchased at Wal-Mart, Target, or Home Depot for $20-$40 works well, apparently better than a butane torch. Check around to find a good buy. If you have any suggestions on this from your experience, please let me know so that I can share it with others.

Basics of crème brulee:

“Temper” the warm cream into the eggs, slowly whisking it in. Tempering raises the eggs’ temperature without the risk of scrambling.

Setting them in a pan of water, a water bath, also ensures the custard will not curdle. The sides of the pan should be no more than 2 inches high.

Bake the custards just until set. Test by tapping one, if it is still runny, bake 3-5 minutes more then test again. When they quiver like jello they are done.

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