A couple of days ago I was talking to Shawna on the phone. I was explaining that since I had just gone to the dentist I had to stop at a pastry shop. She was confused by the logic, I don’t know why. That got us talking about pastries. She said she had a neighbor who was a pastry chef. (This is the job I want in my next life.) Shawna said the lady is super awesome because she can make crème brûlée. I said, “Shawna, I make crème brûlée. In fact it is waiting to go up on the blog.” And, for a limited time (as long as this site exists,) you can learn to make your own crème brûlée. Just pay shipping and handling (or just scroll down.) If you follow Shawna’s logic, then you too will be super awesome.
My mother-in-law once gave me a dainty kitchen torch and a set of ramekins for my birthday. I love gifts like that. Well, the fuel ran out and I didn’t have time to order the new specialty one. Nor did I want to pay what they were charging. As I searched for a solution, my mind wandered back to my childhood and that is where I found the solution. My dad is a very safety oriented guy. He thinks anything less than steel-toed shoes is careless disregard for ones toes and he always required me to put on long pants and sleeves before cooking bacon (even now, he gives me the evil eye when I’m wearing flip flops.) However, he is sort of a conundrum. He is missing the tops of a few of his fingers because he cut them off in high school shop class and he always lit our 4th of July sparklers with a blow torch. Mind you, we weren’t allowed to have fireworks because they were deemed too dangerous. But sure, use that flame-thrower to light your sparklers. (And by the way, we had to wear long sleeves, long pants AND close toed shoes to participate in any sparkler events.) Some might say, including myself, that his ideas of “safety” weren’t always consistent. However, when I was getting ready to serve crème brûlée and my dainty torch’s fuel was exhausted, it worked out great that I knew just where to get something that would do the trick And even better, he had an extra blow torch he gave me to keep. SCORE!!! So I use this behemoth for my crème brûlée needs. (I didn’t say it was pretty.)
Now, I know, not everyone has such a safety-minded-blow-torch-wielding father. I would hate for you to miss out on crème brûlée. You can use your broiler to melt the sugar. It is more tedious and the results aren’t quite as good, but it can be done. You have to make sure your ramekins are broiler safe. Then you have to tend them and move them around under the heat to melt the sugar, but not scorch it.
You can see the crème brûlée on the left was done in the oven. It isn’t quite as glassy looking, a little more splotchy and uneven. When breaking the the sugar layer, it wasn’t as crisp. The ones on the right were done with the blow torch. Their sugar layer is more even and broke with a satisfying snap. But, the broiled one was still delicious and satisfying. I think I must demand that before you prepare this desert, you put on long sleeves, long pants and closed toed shoes. Enjoy!