Tips for perfect crème brûlée

Pistachio and honey creme brulee

Dessert trends may come and go, but crème brûlée remains a perennial fixture on restaurant menus. The contrast between rich, silky custard and delicate crunchy crust has delighted diners for decades. Despite its continued popularity, the dish intimidates many home cooks - the name alone makes it sound difficult. However, as long as you avoid a few common mistakes you can enjoy delicious crème brûlée at home, says Bon Appétit.

The biggest mistake people make is using the wrong size of ramekin. While the cute 3-inch round ramekins you already own might be perfect for pots de crème, they don't work for crème brûlée. Their depth causes the pudding to take "longer to bake, meaning your crème brûlée base will be overcooked at the edges and undercooked in the center. Additionally, and most importantly, the whole point of this dessert is the expansive caramelized crust of sugar. The wide and shallow ramekin allows for optimal sugar-to-pudding radio, and a more impressive crust."

Another big no-no? Using a broiler to torch the sugar, which should be of the plain white granulated variety - this is no place for the fancy stuff. Using the broiler will almost inevitably result in burnt caramel. "No matter how hawk-eyed you are, it's nearly impossible to get the perfect amount of color without burning it to a crisp," says the magazine. You will definitely need a kitchen torch for this task., but it doesn't have to be expensive. Their choice can be found at most hardware stores and will cost about $20 USD.

Once you have your equipment in place, try one of these crème brûlée recipes from the EYB Library:

Coffee crème brûlée (Crème brûlée au café) from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz            
Lemon crème brûlée from Epicurious by Gourmet
Pistachio and honey crème brûlée from Food52 (pictured above)
Crème brûlée  from Cook Up a Feast by Mary Berry and Lucy Young
Caramelized honey creme brulee
 from Eats Well with Others by Joanne Bruno

1 Comment

  • hillsboroks  on  1/23/2016 at 9:33 AM

    I will never forget the first I made Creme Brûlée at home using the set of special shallow ramekins and little torch that my sister gave me for my birthday. It was much easier than I had anticipated and yet gave me such a good feeling of accomplishnent. I urge any Creme Brûlée lovers who have not made it before to give it a try.

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