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another creme brulee thread

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Has anyone ever ACTUALLY made the glass-like caramel on top of creme brulee with the grill of the oven?  I have the creme brulee recipe in Time Life "The Good Cook" series (deserts) and the picture of the creme brulee has always had me drooling.  It shows a spoon cracking a hard, glass-like surface and some of the semi-liquid creme coming out. 

 

So I finally decided to make it, and i followed the directions.  It says to put it in the oven near the grill, and i did.  I heated the grill for ten minutes, and put it up close.  The cream was cold, as it was supposed to be.  I left it there for quite a while (wasn;t timing but i really got fed up, certainly ten minutes but maybe longer).  I finally quit when half of the sugar was still granular (it was superfine sugar) but pale beige and the other half was white, as it was when i put it on.  It was not one half white and one half beige, of course, but sort of spotty.  However the cream was boiling away underneath it.  I figured that was not supposed to happen and over ten minutes had passed. 

 

It was absolutely delicious - only heavy cream, egg yolks and sugar.  No vanilla or any flavoring, and that was amazing.  But it didn;t have the flavor of caramel nor the nice contrast of semi-liquid cream and crackly caramel.  Not something to serve to guests.

 

I know people use blow torches (i don;t have one) and others use salamanders or whatever they;re called (and i don;t have one).  But this is a time life recipe, and i;ve come to count on them as reliable.  It said put it under the grill.of the oven  It didn;t mention not to worry if the cream bubbles  (and in fact it did curdle a little after) and didn't even say to preheat the grill.   So i wonder, do people ever manage to do it this way?  and is it supposed to boil? 

 

thanks

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #2 of 20

Yes, you raise the rack to the top, leave the oven open and move it around.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

And you get a smooth, glasslike crust, kuan?  Or does it caramelize in clumps?  (I've had it, caramelized in a grainy way in restaurants, but that's not what i want).  And does the cream boil?  I used my smaller multi-function oven/microwave/grill with just the top grill turned on, and a high rack where the bowl was right near the grill, and it turns, but it doesn't work with the door open.  So maybe if i kept the door open (using my big oven) it wouldn't heat up the cream so much and it might work to caramelize the top?  

thanks.  I don't plan to buy a blow torch but it would be nice to make this for company

 

p.s. i also tried another method i read i don;t remember where, that calls for making caramel in a pot and then pouring it on the cream, but that, as i suspected, just fell through to the bottom.  Probably because the cream in that recipe was a thick custard-like thing and fairly solid, but this one i want is not really solid, but just thick. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #4 of 20

Nope, I don't get a smooth crust.  It kinda burns and there is residual grainy sugar. And no, the cream didn't boil.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

I imagined so, and it's irritating that the recipe shows this wonderful glassy crust, very thin, and a barely set cream seeping up where it;s cracked, and yet they say to caramelize under the grill.  I suspect what they did is make a caramel disk the size of the ramequin and then lay it on top.  grrr. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #6 of 20

My home oven is probably not that powerful though.  They might have used a more powerful one.

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

Well, my question is one of physics, i guess - whether hot air or radiant heat can actually caramelize sugar that is on top of a liquid in such a way as to make a glaze that is so smooth and clear.  I would think that if the heat is so high, how can the cream not start boiling up before the glaze is finished, making it impossible to achieve.  Perhaps a blowtorch.  My other question is why put a picture of something unattainable with the recipe as written. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #8 of 20

Piictures are sometimes not even pictures of real food products.  The picture may be caramel color added to gelatin to make it look like a glaze.

 

I'd just get a blowtorch.  A big one.  :)

post #9 of 20
I get à perpect finish- mix half caster sugar with half golden sugar (but you CAN use all caster)
Sprinkle à good half fistful over the crème theń lift the ramekin And tilt it at an angle pointing down into container And run your index finger allong the surface of the surface of the creme in one clean sweep. Now you should have à smooth évén surface so you Will get no black burnt spots
Just before you pût under grill spray à fine mist of water from à spray bottle from à good distance holding the ramekin at à tilt this Stép is optional but hélps whén using à grill but you CAN skip it with à blow torch
Of you do this Stép make sûre that you don't spray directly the sugar it Will melt
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks, cakeface.  The idea of some water makes sense,  but it's not clear what you mean about tilting the ramequin over the container - what container, and container of what?  and is the cream supposed to boil as you caramelize or not? 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #11 of 20

Torches cost about $12 for a basic one (go to a hardware store, not a kitchen specialty store).  They really make this a much simpler operation.  Also, make sure your custard is very well chilled. 

 

As far as the clear sugar being possible, I would say it is.  Have you ever made caramel with a dry burn method?  The sugar becomes clear liquid before it starts to brown.

post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post

Thanks, cakeface.  The idea of some water makes sense,  but it's not clear what you mean about tilting the ramequin over the container - what container, and container of what?  and is the cream supposed to boil as you caramelize or not? 

Sorry I didn't explain that very well!  The container is just to catch the excess sugar (so it doesn't go all over the work surface).  And the cream should be well set before coating with sugar, the cream shouldn't boil.  

post #13 of 20

Sorry, my earlier post was badly written, so I've cleaned it up:

 

Mix  caster sugar with  golden sugar (half white, half golden) (but you can use all caster sugar or cassonade if you have it)
Sprinkle a good half fistful over the crème then lift the ramekin and tilt it at an angle pointing down into a container (to catch the excess sugar), now run your index finger along the surface of the creme in one clean sweep. Wipe off any excess sugar from the side of the ramekin. You should now  have a smooth even surface - which means no raised, burnt spots of sugar.

 


If you are using a grill to heat the sugar,  spray a fine mist of water from a spray bottle, spray from a good distance, holding the ramekin at a tilt (avoid spraying water on the sugar at close range-the sugar will melt and will cook unevenly).  This step is unecessary if using a blowtorch but when using a grill, it helps speed up the sugar cooking process-so the creme runs less risk of overheating.


Edited by cakeface - 5/2/13 at 12:27pm
post #14 of 20

j20832 is right, Right, RIGHT.  Buy an inexpensive torch.  They're cheap.  They're useful for all sorts of things. 

 

I get outstanding results with an Iwatani, a Japanese made torch made for cooking which I bought from Action a restaurant supply store in Monterey Park, about 1/2 mile north of Elite Sea Food on Atlantic -- in case you come to SoCal for the dim sum.  I don't know if they're available in Italy or not (the torches, not the dumplings).  You can probably find them somewhere in Europe.  Check Amazon.  

 

A torch from the hardware store would be just as good.  No, I don't know what's available in Italy.  Ask a plumber, ask a jeweler, or ask a cook at a restaurant which makes creme brulee. 

 

BDL

post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 

I certainly trust your judgment on these technical things and I get it about the torch, BDL, and have no doubt it's the best solution, but as i said, the occasional creme brulee that i might make wouldn't justify the amount of space it would take up - my kitchen is packed tight like a messy Tetris, one thing fitting into another.  I'd use a food processor much more often, but don't have room for that either, or an electric kettle, or slow cooker, or... lots of nice stuff. 

 

Anyway, my question was more about why they tell you in most recipes (at least in the olden times, before anyone got the idea of torches in home kitchens) and in quite good cookbooks, that you can do it under the grill, and if anyone had success with that method. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #16 of 20

No one ever did.

 

BDL

post #17 of 20

It sounds to me like a variation on the "no salamander" solution of yesteryear. A cast iron skillet kept in hot oven. You get an order you pull out skillet and place on top of brulee dish. In fairly short order, voila!

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #18 of 20

Or you can get a brule iron.

post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 

So the oven grill method was a myth and a scam!  it's reassuring to know. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #20 of 20

Pretty much unless it's like 50,000 BTU, give or take a few.  ;)

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