40 thoughts on “P&Q: Creme Brulee

  1. I made this yesterday and we had it for dessert tonight. OHMYGOD. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I plan to make it again before next week b/c I am addicted. ;)

    Thanks for the great pick, Mari!

  2. We made this a few weeks ago…my DH used his torch from his workshop and it worked great! We may have used a bit too much sugar as you had to break the topping to get to the custard but it was still delish! It is definitely worth trying to make!

  3. Hi Heather,

    Don’t worry – you’re supposed to have to break through the topping to get to the custard. That’s the best part, in my opinion. Maybe I’m misreading it though and you had a really thick layer of burnt sugar, but if it was a thin layer that you had to crack with a spoon in order to get to the custard — you did it perfectly. :)

  4. I’m braving using the grill too (we don’t call it a broiler but its the same thing!). I would just buy a torch because I’ve always wanted one, but someone has already said they are getting us one for Xmas, so we have to wait until then :(

  5. These differences in cooking terms between countries that supposedly speak the same language always fascinate me! So I guess when someone says they are going to throw something on the grill, you either think they are crazy or American!

  6. I have used the broiler before. It does the trick, but you need to actually sit there and watch it so it doesn’t burn. Also, it won’t be as pretty. But who cares what it looks like if it tastes good :)

  7. They also have the torch and dish set at Ross for $13 (I’ve seen it at two, I think the kitchen stuff is pretty consistent) I would splurge but I hate to store the stuff, lol. I’ll let you guys know if the broiler works out!

  8. I made this two nights ago. The recipe was so wonderful and smooth.

    I’ve made creme brulee several times before, but in a different way. I’ve previously cooked it at a higher temperature *275 and for a longer amount of time. I’m also used to using a specific creme brulee pan and pooring water in.

    Was anyone else surprised that we didn’t fill the pan with some water?

  9. I used the broiler and it worked fairly well. Not perfect, but it was worth it because the creme brulee was SO yummy. I did it twice. Both times I used a pan filled with ice cubes to set the bowls in.
    First, with shallow bowls like pictured in the book, with the oven rack in the second highest position. I’d say the heating element was about 5 inches from the bowls. That didn’t work so well. It took a good five minutes and still the sugar wasn’t exactly carmelized, more like browned and crunchy. Plus, the creme was melted and my ice was melted. I lost a brulee when water sloshed over the top of one bowl. BUT, I stuck the surviving brulees in the fridge until they were well chilled. The creme had virmed back up and they still tasted great.
    The second trial… I used ramekins instead so I would have less surface area exposed to the heat and so hopefully less melting of the creme. I also put the oven rack in the top position so the bowls were maybe 2 inches from the heating element. That time it only took maybe a minute for them to start carmelizing. It still wasn’t a solid piece of carmelized sugar on top, but closer than the first attempt. Again, the creme was melty, but a stint in the fridge solved that.
    The first time I made the plain c.b., and the second time I made a ginger infused c.b.. Both were excellent.

  10. I’ve made créme brûleé in a water bath as Becky O. has mentioned and baked it for almost 1 hour. Yes, I am surprised by this different method and look forward to the results. Good luck to all!!!

  11. I am so sad that I lack both the dishes and torch to make this b/c there is nothing better than cracking through that sugar layer into the custard.
    And now I just drooled a little bit.

  12. If you don’t have a torch and you don’t wanna brave the broiler, there’s yet another way!! You can caramelize some sugar in a small saucepan by combining some sugar, a little water and a drop or two of lemon juice. Set over medium heat, swirling to clarify the syrup before the mixture comes to a simmer, and cook until it turns the mixture the color of dark honey or maple syrup. Remove from heat immediately and then, working with 1 custard at a time, pour 1t- 1T over the top, tilting and rotating your ramekin to allow the hot sugar to roll over and coat the top of the custard. Let them sit until the sugar is cool and voila! Of course, this can be a little tricky, you have to be ultra careful not to spill molten sugar on yourself. And in this case more is not better- the first time I topped brulees this way I put way too much caramelized sugar on the tops, and it was like breaking through a pane of glass (and then eating it).
    If you want to buy a torch I do recommend the ones from hardware stores over the specialty brulee torches. The specialty ones are usually 3 times the price, and run off butane, which means the fuel is damn expensive too! You can get torch heads with automatic ignition for $10-20 at places like home depot and Canadian Tire. These are compatible with most mini propane canisters, the $5 ones you get for camp stoves.

  13. I’ve baked the custard, but haven’t done the sugar topping yet. I just wanted to add that I took Sweetcharity’s advice and got a torch from a hardware store. Home Depot had awesome heavy duty ones with big fat propane tanks. I got mine for $15, which is way better than the weensy kitchen torches for $25 I was considering! Can’t wait to use it.

  14. To anyone who’s already made the crème brulées: How many servings did you get and how much in a serving? The recipe says 6 servings and Dorie suggests using dishes that hold 3/4 cup of liquid. So I assumed 6 – 3/4 cup servings. Mine are in the oven right now and I got 5, about 1/2 cup servings. Any thoughts?

  15. i haven’t made this yet but wanted to add for those who haven’t made it yet and lack the torch – before i got my torch, i would use the broiler function in my toaster oven and it would work really well too. not as pretty, but it still looked pretty good. keep a close eye on it, though, because it goes from golden to burnt very quickly

  16. Well I feel silly! I bought a small blow-torch from Linens ‘n Things (came with 4 brulee dishes), and have now realized that the torch doesn’t come with butane. Duh. I just assumed it would be ready to go. Well, the brulees are in the oven so I guess between baking time and chilling time I have about 4 hours to locate me some butane…

  17. Mine are in the oven. The recipe only made 3 3/4 cup servings. Also, I have been baking mine at 200 degrees for well over an hour and the custard is still very jiggly and doesn’t appear to have set?

  18. Oh, I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one! I baked mine forever at 200. It was liquid for the first hour at least. I finally took it out and it set firmly when it cooled. We’re having it for dessert tonight so I’ll see if I left it in too long.

  19. whats4supper – I am in the same situation. Mine have been baking @ 200 for 70 minutes and are still not “holding firm.” Just wanted you to know you are not alone…

  20. I also baked mine for at least 90 minutes. I think Lauren makes a great point- I probably could have taken them out much earlier and they would have firmed while chilling. I haven’t torched them yet, though… I hope they’re okay. I make four small ramekins- about 2/3 full each.

  21. I baked mine last night. Like several other people I had to bake them a little longer – 70 minutes for me. They were still a little wiggly at that point but they’ve firmed up very nicely. I’m looking forward to doing the brulee tonight!

    I did get 6 servings out of it but they are very tiny servings – just slightly over 1/3 cup each. I tried the cinnamon variation and then I whisked melted dark chocolate into half of the custard mix. If the flavor of the unbaked custard is anything to go by these are going to be a delicious treat tonight.

  22. Well, I’ve never made this (though I’ve made a hundred custard bases for ice cream and gelato) and I’m more than a little intimidated, but here goes. Using a standard he-man torch because I lack a cute little chef’s torch and don’t want to run out to buy one. I’ll keep you posted! :)

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