Thursday 26 April 2012

Is it possible to stuff up a creme brulee?

Yes, it most certainly is.

I've eaten quite a few creme brulees in my time, most of them in restaurants. I've made a few at home, and generally stuffed them up until I got my hands on a blow torch. For some reason, doing the sugar under the griller never worked very well.

I tried making them again last night, using a recipe from SBS.

Big mistake.

I used the same site earlier in the week to make souffl├ęs - the recipe I downloaded from SBS was a dog's breakfast, but the souffles turned out ok. Thankfully, the recipe came with a video and I was able to bypass the shortcomings of the recipe by watching the video a few times. As I was left with a bowl full of excess egg yolks, creme brulee seemed like the obvious way to use them up.

I've made plenty of simple baked custards over the last few years, but without the crunchy topping. Every single one of them has worked perfectly. How hard can it be to make a baked custard?

Thanks to SBS, I got yellow soup. A few of them were reasonably well set, but they were anything but firm.

Still, we spread sugar on the top (after refrigerating them overnight) and gave them a bash with the blow torch. However, because the custard hadn't really set on a few of them, the sugar got wet, and then it burned. Not the best toffee topping I've ever experienced.

I sensibly gave the blow torch to Junior to toast the sugar, as he likes playing with fire and the whole family should be involved in producing meals; but when he went to put it out, it pretty much exploded in a ball of flame in his hands. Something to do with blow back I guess. All it did was singe off a few hairs - I've seen much bigger fireballs in hotel bath tubs. We ignored the smell of burning hair and the sound of swearing teenagers and sat down to eat yellow soup with a blackened sugar topping.

It was about as appetising as it sounds. Not my finest hour in the kitchen. I'll give it a go again next week, but I'll be sticking to Donna Hay for the recipe.


kae said...

Next time I come to dinner remind me to make sure that the Girl on the Handlebars is cooking...

Anonymous said...

Try tastedotcomdotau lots of great recipes there

Anonymous said...

Know a good recipe for fireballs in bathtubs!

cav said...

The blog is too wide, although I'm sure my neck will appreciate the workout scanning from left to right.

Don't forget we can see larger photos just by clickin' on 'em.

Mail me a sample of the shit you're cookin' - I'll try it out on the dogs.

TimT said...

I'll get working on the creme brulee problem as soon as I work out my own 'issues' with Hollandaise sauce...

Pogria said...

The best creme brulee recipe is Nigella Lawson's. It is a cooked custard, not a baked one.

I've tried both and the cooked custard wins hands down. It is far creamier and silkier in texture.

It is, of course, easier to ruin as with any stove top custard, but, if you cook it longer at a lower temperature, you will be fine. And make sure you use a very heavy based saucepan.

The baked in a bain marie custard doesn't come close.

I also use demerara sugar for the toffee topping. It gives a crack you can hear when you attack the shell.