February 18, 2006

Gebærned fleote

It’s been a while since I’ve done a full food entry, so here’s a good one. Although we didn’t have much time to do something special for Valentine’s Day, we decided to make something rather nice for dessert: crème brulée.

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My sister gave us a culinary blowtorch for Christmas, and so we decided that this would be the first thing we did with it. Click on the extended entry for the full account of this recipe.

Another gift was used for this recipe as well—a vanilla bean my parents brought back for us from Mexico:

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First we slit and scraped the vanilla bean, and then added it to a saucepan of cream, bringing it just to the boil. Meanwhile, we whisked together sugar and egg yolks, to which we slowly added the cream mixture, and strained. Next, the custard mixture is poured into ramekins, which are placed in a shallow baking dish with a small kitchen towel underneath, and then boiling water is poured around them. Finally, we put the ramekins of custard in the oven until set, allowed them to cool, and then stored them overnight in the fridge.

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The actual torching happened the next day, just before serving. First of all, we had to work out how to fuel up the torch (with butane), and how to use it. Here’s a picture of me with the lit torch just before setting the flame to the ramekins:

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If you look closely, you can just make out the blue flame, which unfortunately doesn’t photograph well in the fully lit kitchen. In any case, the way the torching process works is, granulated sugar is sprinkled on top of the custards, and then the flame is applied in small circles melting the sugar.

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This process is continued until the sugar is caramelized, producing a nice brown colour.

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And there you have it. The crème brulées were quite successful, and very yummy. With the first two we did, we perhaps put a bit too much sugar on top, but we perfected the process with the second two. And now we’ve got a new skill to add to our culinary repertoire, not to mention a new kitchen gadget (woo hoo!)—I do love kitchen gadgets. We’ll have to try the torch out on other types of recipes next.

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Posted by Mark at February 18, 2006 04:53 PM | TrackBack
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